Paul de Ruiter


A boost for the Oude Noorden with a renovated apartment complex at the Noordsingel

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In the Oude Noorden area, surrounded by water and greenery, Paul de Ruiter Architects was commissioned by Sipkema Onroerend Goed to design an apartment complex. Located at the Noordsingel, the complex will contain a total of 57 medium-priced rental apartments. The new building will replace an outdated office building and residential block.

Housing, Sunlight Usage

The Noordsingel is a historic part of Rotterdam. Once designed as the green lungs of the Oude Noorden, the canal runs through the district like a green city park. The Noordsingel is a protected cityscape, which means that strict requirements are imposed on the design. The design, therefore, originates in the historical context.

The new housing complex comprises 57 rental apartments (44 medium-priced rent and 13 apartments middle-rent), 17 parking spaces as well as a large number of bicycle spaces on the accompanying grounds. The complex is composed of a masonry substructure of four, partly five layers connected to the Rotterdam layer and a structure of blank aluminum and glass.

The Rotterdam layer

The inner city of Rotterdam has a distinctive architectural context stemming from its urban history, also known as the Rotterdam layer. The height of the Rotterdam layer differs per location in the city and the new building will be part of the urban fabric that specifically connects to this layer. Both the Rotterdam layer and the filling in of the plinth form and activate the urban space.

The first floor is essential in the Rotterdam layer. Programming contributes to the dynamics and continuity of the streetscape. Homes that open directly onto the street are therefore an important starting point in the new construction.

A wide range of housing types for starters to families

The complex offers a wide range of housing types intended for starters to families. On the first floor, there are two-story townhouses with direct access to the street. Above that are apartments that are accessed through a corridor. The top floor consists of beautiful penthouses with a magnificent view over the city and spacious roof terraces.

Development plan in a protected cityscape

The development plan for the building is located in a protected cityscape. This imposes strict requirements on the design. The principle of the Rotterdam layer states that these requirements apply particularly to the substructure. Thus, the block is designed with a detached and independently recognizable main form. The facade design is structured using a three-part division: basement, middle section, and facade termination. These divisions are characterized by an interweaving of vertical and horizontal elements, such as windows, masonry refinement, and a crown. The street corner and loggias are architecturally differentiated by rounding them off. The loggias are designed to be under the architectural language but remain subordinate to the main mass.

Materialization of the substructure consists of architectural concrete and brick. The addition of various natural stone aggregates gives the concrete its darker shade. The surface is acidified which provides a fine sandy texture. The brick used, called the wasserstrich, is color-matched to the environment and gives a smoother finish to the whole.

The volume of the complex is incised and processed in such a way that it does not look too dominant. In addition, the pushing back of the volume creates beautiful terraces for the benefit of the penthouses. The three-story building has a contemporary look and consists of large glass panels and blank aluminum facades. These panels and facades provide a nice play with the light, giving the superstructure a lighter look. Also, the emphasis on outdoor spaces offers high-quality penthouses. The abstract appearance of the aluminum facades in contrast to the more classical plinth allows for the optical reduction of the volume and fits in better with the surroundings and the characteristics of the protected cityscape.

Attention to the exterior also paid to the interior

In addition to the attention paid to the exterior, the interior was also explicitly considered. The Noordsingel as a chic and green city park is the inspiration here. The interior design is characterized by the use of high-quality natural materials, with various structures and a color palette that fits.

Project details


Name and location Noordsingel
Address Noordsingel 250 till 290 and Heemsteestraat 5


Client Sipkema beheer bv
Project architect Paul de Ruiter and Sander Bakker

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