Heart Warming

Heat hub – Rotterdam, Netherlands


Competition 2012


Advisor facade: Holland Composites


For: Heat company Rotterdam and Municipality Rotterdam





The exodus of the harbour out of the city of Rotterdam towards the west has left a hiatus in the old docklands. Older inhabitants think back with melancholy to the times when the floating grain elevators, whistling tugboats and proud ocean liners entered the centre of the city. Now slowly the Stadshavens (city harbours) transform into spectacular living areas with a great diversity of activities.
The Heat hub along the Maashaven is located in the middle of this development. This building, containing a pumping installation for hot water, will rehabilitate the relation between city and harbour. It will not be merely an industrial building, it will also be a communal sign of loving dedication of Rotterdam, the Warmtebedrijf (heat company) and AVR (waste incineration company).


‘Heart Warming’ portrays the Heat hub as the pounding heart, which transports heat from the lungs (AVR) to the body (the city). This metaphor refers to the intrinsic function of the building as well as the nostalgic romance relating to the desire for the harbour.


The Heat hub is designed as a tactile red element, which, through its fluid lines, houses the installations efficiently. The shape is developed in such a way it creates stability and that the total span can be made without intermediate supports. The proposal is to use a lightweight composite construction for the façade and roof, using prefabricated segments with an outer layer of 4mm resin + glass fibre, 40/50mm PIR foam and again an inner layer of 4mm resin + glass fibre. The curved ribs of the segments, necessary for stiffness, make the interior space appear as a cathedral of technology and industriality.