A CHAT WITH ARCHITECT DON MURPHY
“ENRICH PEOPLE’S LIVES BY CREATING DIVERSE URBAN COMMUNITIES. THAT’S THE ESSENCE OF HOME-BUILDING PROJECTS. CERTAINLY WHEN IT COMES TO A PROJECT LIKE THE HAVENKWARTIER;
ARCHITECTURE IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST DE-SIGNING A RESIDENTIAL BUILDING. THERE IS MUCH GREATER EMPHASIS ON UNITING PEOPLE”.
We visit the Havenkwartier info centre to meet Don Murphy from VMX Architects. The Ireland-born architect is responsible for designing the Havenkwartier in Katen-drecht. We are curious to discover his vision for this piece of Rotterdam and how he intends to realise it. An inspirational discussion with a passionate professional:
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ROTTERDAM?
“Beautiful. The skyline is stunning, as is the way in which the River Maas is inter-woven with the city. In addition, it is admira-ble how Rotterdam always finds a way to continue developing. Every time I come here, it gets better. Not only do you see it, but you also feet it. This serves as a source of inspiration for me. I really love the imposing buildings of Hugh Maaskant. But, for example, also the area around the Van der Takstraat on the Noordereiland, where children are being given the opportunity to play among green surroundings.”
IN YOUR OPINION, IS KATEN-
DRECHT A TYPICAL ROTTERDAM
As far as I am concerned, Katendrecht is the perfect example of ‘a living city’. It is an inclusive part of the city, where everything comes together: living, work, enterprise and relaxation. Katendrecht is alive. Factories, boats and the Maashaven are still operational and create a tough, dynamic context where a diverse mix of people feel at home. The Rijnhavenbrug connects the Kaap to the city, while the Kaappark – which is a hidden treasure between the Walhallalaan and Tolhuislaan – adds the required space and greenery.”
HOW COMPATIBLE IS THE HAVEN
KWARTIER WITH THIS TOUGH,
“The Havenkwartier is made for this place. On the Maashaven side, it borders an array of factories, which define the edges of the peninsula with their massive silos. On the other side, the building has strong links with the street, the Kaappark and the surrounding buildings. The Havenkwartier is characterised by a solid concrete wall along the quay, and a powerful mix of contours and lattices as reference to industrial port buildings. By making the concrete ‘tactile’, but also by incorporating wood, we have given the building a soft yet friendly character. Views and windows are the most important things about the homes. Like the
large glass panels in frames, which capture views of the city and River Maas as real life works of art. Or windows as big as the façade, which make your home look even bigger.”
YOU SAID IT IS IMPORTANT TO
CREATE COMMUNITIES. HOW
DOES THE DESIGN OF THE
HAVENKWARTIER PLAY A ROLE
“By offering diversity. The building contains a variety of homes, like town houses, penthouses, maisonettes, single-family homes, gallery homes, hangar homes, specials and apartments of various sizes. All appeal to a particular audience and meet the very latest residential requirements. Our single-family homes with living and work function allow us to attract families to the city. The communal roof garden on the seventh floor, which is also intended for people who live in the maisonettes, will be a meeting place for neighbours and a place where children can play. The combination between greenery and human interaction can be found at various places in the building. The quay is also an important meeting place.”
IN WHICH TYPE OF HOME WOULD
YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
“In fact, all homes have been designed with a specific concept in mind: where would I like to live in each phase of my life? For example, as a young professional, as a family or once my children have moved out. If I had to make a choice, I would definitely opt for a Hangar home: they are spectacular homes next to the quay, with large ga-rage-like doors, which reflect the rugged and robust character of the port area.”
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
“Although it may sound like a cliché, it definitely has to be the location. After all, this is the last available space in the heart of the Kaap. It deserves something special, and that’s exactly what it’s getting. We are proud to have played a role in this project. It’s a privilege.”
FEEL THE KAAP
The Havenkwartier not only allows you to live in Katendrecht, but makes you part of it. This robust and headstrong building will make you feel a genuine connection with the tough, industrial character of the Kaap. Balconies, patios and (roof ) gardens help to create harmony between the inside and outside worlds. They invite you to inhale the fresh air of the Kaap and River Maas, possibly while leaning over your own balcony. A real opportunity to endlessly enjoy the breathtaking views.