the muse is a new luxury residential tower by barcode architects designed in the waterstad quarter of rotterdam, in the netherlands. the design aims to shape an important pedestrian axis within the city by emphasizing the connection with the street, commercial functions, the double-height lobby, and residential units near the ground floor.

barcode architects the muse rotterdam
the plinth and tower are unified in a single recognizable silhouette



in recent years, numerous high-profile developments have been built in the waterstad quarter of rotterdam, including markthal, the citizen m hotel, and the 100 hoog tower. as well, several upcoming towers are planned to be built just south of the red apple. within this up-and-coming district of rotterdam, the wijnhaven street, where the new tower will be built, has the potential to grow into a lively pedestrian route given its strategic position as a connector between the oude haven (old harbour) to the east and witte de withstraat – one of the busiest pedestrian streets of rotterdam with cafes, restaurants, galleries and shops that ends at the museum park – to the west.

barcode architects the muse rotterdam
the muse’s open façade and welcoming plinth contribute to making a lively pedestrian street



to establish a close connection with the street, the tower’s ground level commercial functions have fully glazed, transparent facades. towards the center, the facade bends in to mark the double-height residential entrance, framing it with a pair of dark concrete walls that contrast with the tall, transparent and bright lobby. immediately above the shops are three levels of parking. to avoid the unpleasant and alienating atmosphere associated with parking structures that open onto the street, barcode architects has inserted a line of apartments to occupy the south façade. their windows and staggered balconies communicate with the street and give it a human scale.

barcode architects the muse rotterdam
the fifth level features a common terrace that will be shared with the neighbouring tower



between the fifth and eighth levels, the building volume bends to the west and to the north, giving space between itself and the future tower to be built on the adjacent plot at wijnhaven 65. these two towers will be coupled, and will share a large terrace on the fifth level. a secondary lobby will give access to this urban roof garden, and to a common fitness centre in the wijnhaven 65 tower. the ‘muse’s’ bending gesture, as well as giving light and space to this shared terrace, also unifies the plinth and tower into one sculptural element. the result is a bold and recognizable silhouette, which is emphasized by a dark grey concrete ‘wrap’.

the muse rotterdam designboom
the tower features a transparent commercial façade, a tall lobby, and balconies near the street



each unit has a spacious balcony with a varying depth that gives privacy from neighbors. the deep and narrower parts of the balconies are staggered with respect to the levels above and below, so that each balcony is partially double-height, optimizing sun conditions for the interior. the balconies face south towards the river, and north towards the city. the east and west facades, in contrast, are sheltered by the dark ‘wrap’ and have smaller openings, ensuring visual privacy from the neighbouring towers.


construction of the ‘muse’ will start in the spring of 2017, with expected completion by the end of 2018.

the muse rotterdam designboom
the 5th to 8th floors step back, creating generous terraces

the muse rotterdam designboom
the location links the old harbour with the museum district

the muse rotterdam designboom
the ground floor features two commercial spaces and an open lobby

the muse rotterdam designboom
the south-facing apartments prevent the parking from facing the street


the muse rotterdam designboom
the fifth level lobby gives access to a collective terrace

the muse rotterdam designboom
the two penthouses each have their own courtyard and panoramic views.


the muse rotterdam designboom
the tower’s bending gesture is framed by a concrete wrap



project info:


project name: the muse (wijnhaven 69)
year: 2015
location: wijnhaven 69, rotterdam
status: construction to begin in spring 2017, expected completion by the end of 2018
client: vof wh69
programme: residential, parking, retail
building area: 20.000m2
building height: 75m
design team: caro van de venne, dirk peters, tim brans, hendrik bloem, wim sjerps, sara picazo clarke, boris kozlowski, marko koops, robbert peters, egidijus kasakaitis, ilaria ronchi, ruggero pedrini
structural engineers: imd
mechanical engineers: mabutec
building technology: abt
cost calculation: vgg
contractor: smit’s bouwbedrijf