Floating Office Rotterdam Hits the Water by Powerhouse Company

Floating Office Rotterdam

The world’s largest floating office, Floating Office Rotterdam, has taken a giant step toward its completion. On Monday, 31 August, the huge floating structure, measuring 90 by 24 meters, arrived at its permanent berth in Rotterdam’s Rijnhaven harbor, having been towed there all the way from Zaandam, over 80 kilometers away.

The Floating Office Rotterdam (FOR), designed by architecture office Powerhouse Company and developed by RED Company, is a building for a new era. Completely reusable and recyclable, it’s an example of circular design. Off grid and carbon-neutral, it will float if water levels rise due to climate change.

The floating office will reflect the values of its future inhabitants: the Global Center on Adaptation. This Rotterdam based NGO promotes planning, investment and technology to mitigate climate change. The climate-resilient office is therefore both an illustration of the center’s mission and an inspiration for others. With its own solar energy source and water-based heat-exchange system, it’s completely self-sufficient.

Built entirely of timber, to minimize its carbon footprint, the FOR building has three stories and is accessed via a boardwalk. It will make use of natural energy thanks to 800 square meters of solar panels. It will also use the water from the Rijnhaven for cooling. Overhanging balconies around each floor plus a pitched roof will provide shade. FOR will also feature public facilities: a restaurant with a large outdoor terrace and a swimming pool, adding new life to the harbor area.

The arriving of the floating foundations completes the first milestone of the project. After its voyage through the Dutch waterways, on entrance to the Rijnhaven harbor from the River Maas, the port authority gave the floating foundations a nautical salute – a fitting welcome for this futuristic, fun and functional example of sustainable architecture. Over the coming months the building will be further constructed and finalised here.

“Designing a sustainable, floating office building was a challenging commission, and we approached it holistically.” says Nanne de Ru, founder Powerhouse Company. “The building structure is designed in wood and can easily be demounted and re-used. It’s ready for the circular economy.” says Paul Sanders, project architect Powerhouse Company.

  • Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Architect: Powerhouse Company
  • Financing: ABN Amro
  • Project management: DVP
  • Contractor: FOR Building VOF (consisting of Bouwbedrijf Valleibouw B.V. and Bouwbedrijf Osnabrugge B.V.)
  • Contractor floating foundations: Hercules FC
  • Structural engineer: Bartels & Vedder
  • Wood structure engineer: Solid Timber
  • MEP installations & sustainability: DWA
  • Wood structure: Derix Gelamineerde Houtconstructies
  • Building installations: Roodenburg Groep
  • Glass: iFS Building Systems
  • Steel: W. Ten Ham Plaatwerk
  • Developer: RED Company
  • Client: Global Center on Adaptation, Municipality of Rotterdam
  • Year: 2020
  • Photographs: Sebastian van Damme, Courtesy of Powerhouse Company

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