The Rotterdam District Court is located in the Wilhelminahof, an iconic building in the former harbour area “Kop van Zuid”. To accommodate the judiciary institute up to contemporary standards, the public reception for the courthouse and its offices were completely refurbished. The courthouse, its waiting spaces, meeting spaces and the prosecution offices are situated in opposite buildings. A glass covered street - the galleria - lies in between. With the renovation, the galleria was transformed into a warm and welcoming reception and interconnecting hub. A new working concept was implemented for the office spaces, complemented with a central meeting area and a knowledge centre.
Client Government Real Estate Agency
Location Rottedam
Square 15.000
Timeline June 2017 - December 2019

In order to provide a safe and service-oriented entrance which is easy to navigate, the galleria, which originally had an outdoor climate, was converted into a fully climatized reception area. It is at the intersection of user groups, building architecture, exterior and interior. The intervention is designed to interconnect all of these in a rational and natural way.

A key driver for the design of the public space was to carefully facilitate the various traffic flows. By adding a mezzanine, user groups are efficiently separated and easily find their allocated entrances, meeting spaces and waiting rooms. On the top the mezzanine features a security barrier. Underneath, a waiting area for the reception desks is situated. Materialisation of the new volumes in natural stone, contributes to the self-evident nature of the intervention.

The sturdy design with a robust appearance and long sightlines is in line with the original building architecture. It contributes to a strongly anchored position of the institute in the rough urban area, adding a public living room that represents justice. Despite the partial transformation of the galleria into a warm and welcoming public living room, it is still perceived as one continuous whole, stretching from the harbour at both ends to the exit of the metro station with its small shops in between.

A new public living room in the former harbour area, Kop van Zuid represents justice, making connections in a rational and natural way.

In line with the design of the galleria, the offices obtained a clear design with long sightlines, efficient layout and sturdy materialisation. The central meeting hub on the ground floor and the meeting spaces on the office floors are each largely materialised in natural wood, with a touch of blue on a pallet of white and grey tones.

To emphasize transparency and instigate informal meetings, a circular space was designed situated in a modest newly constructed building extension. It interconnects two building wings at ground floor level and provides the knowledge centre and training spaces with an informal multi-use space.

A Design & Build contract (UAV-GC)

Dura Vermeer and Fokkema & Partners were awarded the Design & Build contract for the renovation of the Rechtbank Rotterdam, issued by the Government Real Estate Agency. The consortium was complemented with Deerns, DGMR, Van Rossum Raadgevende Ingenieurs, BOAG Advies en Management, TES Installatietechniek en A. de Jong Installatietechniek. During phased renovation, the court and the office environment remained in use.

The Wilhelminahof at Kop van Zuid

The District Court is situated in the iconic Wilhelminahof designed by Cees Dam and Kraaijvanger. Upon completion in 1995, as one of the first projects to be realised in the former harbour area “Kop van Zuid”, it served as the powerful representation of both the urban developments as well as the new standards for Government offices: flexible and efficient.

Photography by Lucas van der Wee.