after the expansion of the offshore harbour maasvlakte2, the port of rotterdam in the netherlands is in need of a radar tower ; the location of the current one is an obsolete structure, dating back to 1974. hence, dutch studio syb van breda & co architects, proposes a design that combines architecture, sustainability, technology and economy in a more contemporary tone. 

syb van breda & co radar tower port of rotterdam designboom
the radar tower is envisioned as a logic, intelligent architecture that still offers elegant and timeless qualities



the shape of the tower envisioned by syb van breda & co is one that is logic and intelligent. high like a bird, it watches over the vast dike and waterscape — observing what cannot be seen from surface level which is the long entrance lines of nieuwe waterweg, the very reason why the radar is placed there. the monument responds to these lines with its fascinating three-dimensional curves, specifically designed for this location, that contribute to its resilience. the sturdy foot of the tower is oriented parallel to the road for maximum stability and minimum impact on the dike while the head is oriented towards the yangtze canal and provides the necessary space for installations.

syb van breda & co radar tower port of rotterdam designboom
the steel plates are weather-proof and, if correctly managed, require little maintenance 



steel is considered to be the ideal material to build this tower, where every curve and bend can be made of simple plates in a precise and economic way. most importantly the material would be weather proof which, if detailed and designed correctly, does not require any maintenance. in the end, the tower will be a recyclable lightweight edifice with minimal wall thickness, and deprived of any toxic materials. 

syb van breda & co radar tower port of rotterdam designboom
a sturdy and secure beacon for the turbulent waters 



the foundation is a light, yet ultra stiff offshore construction, where steel piles are drilled into the solid load-bearing layer thirty meters below the surface. the piles are mutually connected by a sturdy steel frame, which in turn supports the tower. this technology has no impact on the dike, as all forces are directly transferred into the deep sand layer. the only activity in the dike body is a temporary and minimal excavation planned on the land side. the tower will be built in a short time, considering that steel plates can be shaped, welded together and transported to site in a few months. parts of the interiors will be prefabricated and possibly pre-assembled in the tower segments.

syb van breda & co radar tower port of rotterdam designboom
structural layers – firmitas, utilitas, venustas

syb van breda & co radar tower port of rotterdam designboom
integration of structure, function and aesthetics



project info:


port of rotterdam
syb van breda & co architects / syb van breda, bastiaan luijk
partners design & construct team: hollandia infra, servicis, istimewa, tauw, PT structural
year: 2016



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom