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Drijvende Rotterdam (Floating Rotterdam)

Part 2 Project 2011
CléMence Wambergue
Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris-la-Villette 75019 Paris France
In 2008, the municipality of Rotterdam and the Historical Museum asked architects and
students to develop a concept for a new City Museum. This future institution which would
integrate the collections of the existing Historical Museum was to be a place to depict and discuss Rotterdam as a contemporary city, a stage to celebrate the urban identity of this international harbour city in the making. No project was even realised and the city still seeks a new identity for its history museum.

Rotterdam, established as a port city in 1340 and today Europe’s largest industrial harbour, exists in a floating and multi-territorial condition: an accumulation of layers of time and space collected by its river, the Maas. Devastated by German bombardment at the end of World War II, and permanently under re-construction ever since, Rotterdam collects territorialities, temporalities, events.

DRIJVENDE ROTTERDAM reclaims the movement of the Maas river as a dynamic public space expressive of Rotterdam’s urban character. As a reflection of the port activity, the project develops a combinatory strategy of floating pavilions and barges. A collection of 7 emblematic riverfront sites redefines the territory of the museum, so as to reveal the history of the city through its river. Like a fleet of exploration vessels returning to port, each pavilion is assigned to a station, and activates a site of the collection. Each pavilion reveals the nature of its home site and its potential for the city as a whole. DRIJVENDE ROTTERDAM does not confine urban history to the past but allows a permanent dialogue between past, present, and future. In docking at several destinations along the Maas, the museum proposes an in situ experience of Rotterdam’s living heritage, allowing for more direct interaction with the city. My intention was to design a historical museum that presents history as culture, rather than presenting history as memory.

CléMence Wambergue


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