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Unique Architecture Building: Rotterdam Cube Houses

Updated on April 21, 2015

Rotterdam Cube Houses are one of the great architectural wonders that have ever been built. Rotterdam Cube Houses are located in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. The building was designed and constructed by architect Piet Blom in 1970's. At first, Rotterdam town planner asked to Piet Blom how to solve the problem of building houses on the top of the pedestrian bridge. Knowing that Piet Blom ever built a similar concept of houses in another town before, so he chooses to repeat the house's design to be built-in Rotterdam. The building consists of 38 small cubes and two bigger cubes that attached to each other.

Rotterdam Cube Houses are structurally shaped just like a cube that is placed on the mast tilted hexagonal. Each cube house has three levels where parts of structure patterns are consisting of concrete floors, concrete pillars and wooden framing. The structure of tilted cube-shaped on the upper side, which is a wooden framing and rock wool insulation that are given protection by covered with cement and wood fiberboards to prevent the wooden frame and insulation from exposure. Rotterdam Cube Houses are also used zinc panels and equipped with double-glazed windows to make the buildings looks attractive.

Rotterdam's Cube Houses
Rotterdam's Cube Houses | Source

To access each floor, there is a rather narrow staircase. The first level is a triangular shaped living room. The second level is used as a bedroom and bathroom and at the third level that has tilted cubic shape used as a second bedroom and living room. To complete the tilted design, the walls and windows are all made as far as 54.7 degrees tilted. These slanted windows form instead provide an excellent view out to the surrounding area. But there are drawbacks to this design, which is where the space used is only about one-quarter of the total space meters totally.

Rotterdam's Cube Houses
Rotterdam's Cube Houses | Source

Putting aside the design of the building that is unique and asymmetrical, the Rotterdam cube houses are meant to represent the concept of an abstract forest. According to the architect, Piet Blom, the triangular shape of the peak in each cube house is intended to give the impression of an abstract tree, where, when the cube houses connected to one another, it will resemble a yellow sea of peak trees.

Today, Rotterdam Cube Houses have been renewed and transformed into a new Stayokay hostel. In addition, Stayokay Hostel that used to be The Rotterdam's Cube houses, now also has a restaurant, bar and two rooms for meetings and workshops.

Rotterdam's Cube Houses from under
Rotterdam's Cube Houses from under | Source

As we can see from the picture above, the Rotterdam cube house has unique shape glass windows. We can see that the window glass is also mounted on the top of the house that is close to the roof. Unique glass shapes that are small windows can be seen located near the roof and windows that placed on the each edge of the house which has pentagon-shaped (which, when we notice, it is visible as triangle-shaped glass). The window's shape is adapted to the shape of the house that its shape perhaps we rarely see in other architectural design. Especially with a blend of zinc panels and double-glazed windows to complement the beauty of this building facade. Thus it has its own characteristics.

Rotterdam's Cube Houses (outdoors)
Rotterdam's Cube Houses (outdoors) | Source

The courtyard that placed in the middle of Rotterdam's cube houses looks very beautiful. The courtyard is using paving stone with red and gray colors, so it looks neat and artistic. There are several of plants that are cultivated in pots of various sizes. In addition, there is also a garden light that is positioned in the middle of the courtyard to illuminate the surrounding area. You can see the magnificent clear bright sky contrast with the yellow colors of the roof of Rotterdam cube houses.

Rotterdam's Cube Houses (Interior)
Rotterdam's Cube Houses (Interior)

If we need to examine the interior of the building, the corners of which form the walls of the house look stiff. The room looks small and cramped because the walls have to be adjusted to the formation of the house concept. Because the room has an unusual shape, furniture placement, and the model should also be adapted to the shape of the wall.

Rotterdam's Cube House (Interior)
Rotterdam's Cube House (Interior)

The ceiling looks narrow and the distance between the roof and the floor looks short because of the formation of the houses.


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    • Jordan Hake profile image

      Jordan Hake 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri, USA

      Wow, those are some really strange houses. I guess if you've got time on your hands, you'll have to fill it somehow. :)