Dance With Water at Schouwburgplein, Rotterdam

The city of Rotterdam is an old logistic port and economic center in South Holland, the Netherlands. As one of the most populous city in The Netherlands and also in Europe, now Rotterdam is one of world best practices to showcase urban redevelopment projects. Schouwburgplein, or Theatre Square, is located at the heart of Rotterdam. It was formerly a dead and dilapidated urban space, lacking in distinctive features or qualities, despite its prime location surrounded by commercial development.


The 12.250 square meters Schouwburgplein was then redesigned by West 8, a Dutch urban design and landscape architecture firm, to be an urban stage and interactive open space. The purpose of the project was to revitalize and shift the function of this urban void to being a more vital zone that caters urban activities, events, and also connects the various functionality of the surrounding buildings at a human scale.


This contemporary urban square design, with custom furniture, iconic crane-like lights that park users can operate, and a trademarked hardscape pattern, is a reflection of the Port of Rotterdam. Capped by a light-deck square that replaced an outdated and leaking parking roof structure, the design includes a light structure using durable materials that have remarkably withstood the test of time and heavy usage (West 8).


The square is now surrounding by municipal theatre, concert hall, central station, restaurants, movie theater, and shopping malls; which buildings mostly concentrate on urban leisure and lifestyle activities. As the surface of the square is raised above the surrounding area, the “city’s stage” is very suitable for festivals and installations. According to West 8, this interactive public space, which is flexible in use, also changes throughout the day and from season to season.




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