Paul de Ruiter


Climate proof parking

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The city of Rotterdam needed a design that would successfully address the parking problems in the Museumpark area and befit the cultural heart of the city, which is home to the Natural History Museum, the Kunsthal and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. We came up with the idea of an underground car park with room for more than 1,150 cars that functions at the same time as a water reservoir with a storage capacity of 10,000 m3. We also revamped the overlying site that connects the museums with the Erasmus MC.


Underground parking

We spread the 1,150 parking spaces over three underground levels. You drive into the car park at level -2, from where you can reach levels -1 and -3. Safety and a positive experience of the car park formed the basis of our thinking. With the pedestrian in mind, we designed a clear and comprehensible routing through the car park and included atrium-like spaces on both sides of the structure to let in natural light.

Anticipating the weather

Beneath the ramp that leads into the car park, we built a reservoir measuring 60 by 35 metres to capture the excess water from the city centre during heavy rainfall. As soon as the sewers are in danger of overflowing, the hatch into the underground reservoir is opened. The reservoir fills with 10 million litres of water within a half hour, reducing the pressure on the sewage system by one-quarter.

The pavilion as a connection between under- and above ground

The transparent Museumpark pavilion is an important hub of pedestrian traffic on many levels. The pavilion links the 4.5-metre-high backbone of the Erasmus MC, the glass-walled walkway and the Museum car park exit. Seen from the Museumpark, the glass pavilion is the pièce de résistance of the light-filled walkway that connects the two structures. We also designed the bridge that connects the pavilion with the Erasmus MC and the museums.

Project details


Location Museumpark, Rotterdam
Gross floor area 31.000 m2 (car park); 253 m2 (pavilion)
Volume 83.700 m3
Program Underground car park for 1,150 cars with 10,000 m³-capacity subterranean water reservoir
Start design 2003 (car park); July 2010 (pavilion)
Start construction May 2005 (car park); July 2010 (pavilion)
Completion February 2010 (car park); May 2013 (pavilion)


Client Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Rotterdam
Client water storage Hoogheemraadschap van Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard; Gemeente Werken Rotterdam
User Visitors Museumpark en Erasmus MC
Project architect Paul de Ruiter
Project team Richard Buijs, Noud Paes, Haik Hanemaaijer, Robin Kerssens, Wilko de Haan, Marieke Sijm, Willeke Smit, Sander van Veen, Willem Jan Landman, Michael Noordam
Construction management Oostelbos Van den Berg bouwmanagement & Huisvestingsadvies (parkeergarage); ABT en EGM Architecten (paviljoen)
Advisor construction Ingenieursbureau Gemeentewerken Rotterdam (parkeergarage); Aronsohn Raadgevende Adviseurs (paviljoen)
Advisor parking Spark, Twynstra Gudde Management Consultants
Advisor sound and trembling Peutz
Advisor building physics Caubergen Huygen
Landscape design Paul de Ruiter Architects i.s.m. dienst Stedenbouw+Volkshuisvesting, OMA, Inside Outside
Urban planning dS+V
Contractor Strukton Betonbouw (car parking); Ballast Nedam & BAM (pavilion)
Photography Pieter Kers, Jeroen Musch, Simone Engelen

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