Schiehaven Noord

masterplan for a new housing district

The masterplan for Schiehaven Noord capitalizes on the opportunity to further develop Rotterdam as a city on the river. It shows how inner-city densification of port areas can go hand in hand with creating high-quality public spaces and facilities that function both at the level of the city as that of the neighborhood. In its renewed relationship with the river, the neighborhood celebrates liveliness and urban connections as well as tranquility and intimacy. The plan is developed in close collaboration with the Municipality of Rotterdam and BplusB urbanism and landscape architecture.

Schiehaven Noord as connection between the surrounding isolated neighborhoods
Schiehaven Noord as connection between the surrounding isolated neighborhoods

The green urban plan provides for a varied mix of 1000 new homes, half at affordable and half at market price, thus making an important contribution to tackling the housing shortage through inner-city densification. The existing heritage (the Maaskant building with offices and the Marshall warehouse with cultural and social functions) are logically integrated in the plan and complemented with other strategically located public facilities in the plinth of various buildings.

A 40m quay extension makes it possible to combine the significant building program with a wide range of green public and collective spaces, as a welcome addition to the stony character of the adjacent Lloydpier and Müllerpier, and compensating for the wide area with underground infrastructure where no construction is allowed. Specific hindrances of this former harbor area such as the impact of wind and noise ask for an intricate urban fabric of medium height (instead of high-rise) that can provide shelter and security.

scale of the city: two superblocks
scale of the neighbourhood: array of interconnected courtyards
scale of the building: family of dwellings
height accents in checkerboard pattern

The urban design features a differentiated ensemble with a strong character, fabric and vertical silhouette. At the level of the city, the plan manifests itself as two superblocks matching the size of the port. On the scale of the neighbourhood, the plan reads like a sequence of green courtyards that together form a green residential fabric. On the scale of the building, a conscious effort is made to use a small grain that reflects the rich mix of residential typologies and residents, as well as enables identification with one’s own residential building.
Each layer of the plan connects to the city and the public space on a different level.
The superblocks relate to the two urban axes of the quay (Maaskade) and the dike (Westzeedijk) and as well as to the green connection on top of the underground infrastructure. The series of courtyards form wind and noise-free green collective spaces for the neighbourhood community. Finally, the individual buildings have addresses towards all sides so that the plan has no backsides. With carefully designed transitions between private, collective and public space, including raised terraces in front of the ground-floor homes, they contribute to the synergy between living and public space.

view towards the quay with the new square and Maastribune
view towards the quay with the new square and Maastribune
view from one of the inner courtyards
view from one of the inner courtyards

Within the range of Rotterdam’s (post-)industrial harbours, Schiehaven Noord is special because of its large contact with both the river and the dike. These two long lines of water and earth are used to give identity to the plan. A wide landscaped quay redefines Delfshaven’s relationship with the Maas by giving the opportunity to experience the river up close. The proposed new city square in front of the Maaskant building will have wide, sturdy stairs descending towards the water: De Maastribune. Existing and new sports facilities, as well as sunbathing areas on the quay, bring urban activity right down to the water. Natural zones and native plants are located both on and along the quay and reinforce the ecological position of the Lloydkwartier along the banks of the Maas.
At the other side of the plan, a differentiated urban facade is proposed along the dike. Ground bound dwellings with front doors on the dike alternate with apartment buildings with see-through entrance lobbies. This setup with addresses along the dike ensures liveliness and urbanity to this important scenic urban structure of Rotterdam.



The street between the two superblocks is an extension of the northly situated Oostkousdijk and Havenstraat in Delfshaven, strongly connecting the new neighbourhood to the inner dike city parts. This slow traffic axis connects to three parallel slow traffic routes: one along the dike, one in the inner area and one on the quay. They accentuate the characteristic longitudinal direction of the harbour and connect the Lloydkwartier with the former Schiemond port area and the De Kroon site. The car is given a subordinate place in the plan by accommodating it in two parking hubs on either side of the plan: a fully underground parking garage (2 layers) on the East side and a demountable multi-level parking garage on the West side. The quay and the dike route are only accessible to car traffic for the purpose of garbage collection, parcel services, moving and emergencies.

network of informal pedestrian routes
three areas: dike, courtyards and quay
View of the new Schiehaven
View of the new Schiehaven

The project strives for a differentiated unity, both at the urban and architectural level. The two super blocks are made up of individual buildings placed next to each other, which clearly acquire their own character within a common architectural DNA. This creates a family of buildings that shape the quay, dike and courtyards by means of differentiated urban walls. In addition to the so-called “Rotterdam layer” consisting of 3 to 6 floors, the plan has a rich collection of higher volumes up to a maximum of 15 layers. The “Rotterdam layer” is oriented to the ground level and shapes the urban spaces. The height accents, situated in a checkerboard pattern, focus on the view and give the project its own distinctive skyline with staggered height accents.


  • Assignment

    masterplan for a new housing district

  • Year 2020-
  • Client

    Municipality of Rotterdam

  • Location Rotterdam
  • Program dwellings, sports and public facilities
  • Size 6ha
  • Status ongoing
  • Team
    • Thijs van Bijsterveldt
    • Oana Rades
    • Harm Timmermans
    • Raymond van den Broek
    • Philip de Klerk
    • Yang Bai