plans have been revealed for a timber office building that will float on the rijnhaven, a port on rotterdam’s nieuwe maas river. the project, which will begin construction in spring 2020, has been designed by powerhouse company to be energy-neutral and self-sufficient. expected to remain in the port for a period of 5 to 10 years, the design boasts a wide range of state-of-the-art sustainability measures, such as heat exchange through the harbor water.

powerhouse floating timber office building
image by plomp | main image by atchain



referred to as ‘floating office rotterdam’, or ‘FOR’, the all-timber structure will serve as the new headquarters of the global center on adaptation (GCA). led by former UN-chairman ban ki-moon, microsoft founder bill gates, and managing director of the international monetary fund (IMF) kristalina georgieva, the organization was set up in 2018 to encourage the development of measures to manage the effects of climate change through technology, planning, and investment.

powerhouse floating timber office building
image by atchain



‘designing a sustainable, floating office building was a very challenging commission and we approached it in an integrated way,’ says nanne de ru, powerhouse company founder and architect. ‘by using the water of the rijnhaven to cool the building, and by using the roof of the office as a large energy source, the building is truly autarkic. the building structure is designed in wood, it can easily be demounted and re-used. the building is ready for the circular economy.’

powerhouse plans floating, all-timber office building for rotterdam port
image by plomp



the use of wood as a main construction material, reduces the carbon footprint of the building dramatically. meanwhile, the overhanging floors of the building create permanent sun shading, which allows for large windows with plenty of daylight flooding into the office floors. besides the offices, the floating structure will also house a restaurant with a large outdoor terrace and a floating swimming pool in the maas river.



project info:


name: floating office rotterdam (FOR)
location: rotterdam, the netherlands
client: global center on adaptation (GCA)
design: powerhouse company
project manager: DVP (on behalf of developer RED company)
construction design: bartels & vedder in combination with solid timber
construction: valleibouw and osnabrugge
advisor of installations, fire safety and building physics: DWA
status: construction set to begin in spring 2020