in 2019, orange architects transformed the former PTT building that was constructed in 1951 on binnenrotte in the netherlands, from a structure full of equipment to a structure full of apartments with a restaurant on the first floor. the building is located close to the spot where rotterdam was founded. since 2007, the establishment which had been vacant for a long time had no entrance from the market side. with the construction of the adjoining building, the entrance court of the PTT building disappeared.
images by ossip van duivenbode and frank hanswijk
as part of the transformation, orange architects connected the establishment with the market square, which has attracted more metropolitan programming in recent years. the design comprises twenty studio apartments slotted into the generously dimensioned structure. floor heights of almost 4.5 meters give the apartments an exceptionally spacious feel with a wonderful view of the metropolitan cityscape of rotterdam. the façade facing the market square has been modified to create outdoor spaces and draw more daylight into the building.
the first two floors have french balconies, while a continuous balcony runs along the third floor. they are finished with metal sheets and fine-meshed balustrades. the architects chose dark brown-black as a color to all additions such as windows frames, openable components, metal sheetings, and balconies, allowing the second life of the building to manifest itself as a new architectural layer. all openings on the first floor have been extended to the ground and fitted with tall steel frames, creating a relationship between the restaurant interior and the market terrace. thanks to their dark-coated metal profiles, the new entrances on the market side contrast with the brickwork façade.
orange architects replaced the roof tiles on the market side with solar slates in a neutral dark color. as a result, these PV panels are practically invisible, preserving the high-quality aesthetic appearance of the roof. the energy concept has been customized for this building, as a result, residual heat from the data equipment of the KPN servers in the basement is used to preheat the tap water and to heat the floors in the apartments and restaurant. water is also heated with solar boilers on the flat roof at the rear of the building. this allows enough energy to be generated, supplying the needs of almost all apartments and some of the restaurants. the building was nominated for the rotterdam architecture prize 2019 along with nine other laureates.
name: PTT binnenrotte
designer: orange architects
area: 3585 sqm (38588.619 sqft)
photography: ossip van duivenbode, frank hanswijk
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edited by: yasmina karam | designboom