Floating Office Rotterdam (FOR)

A Vessel for Change

Our Floating Office Rotterdam (FOR) marks the start of the larger redevelopment of the Rotterdam Rijnhaven port. Within this development, FOR reflects the mission of its main user, the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), housing the headquarters of this top global knowledge center. Our exceptionally climate-resistant building is energy positive, CO2 negative and if the water level rises due to climate change, it will float.Along the way, FOR has been awarded by platforms such as FRAME, MIPIM/Architectural Review, World Architecture Festival, and Architectenweb.

Time span2018 - 2021
Size5 880 m²
LocationRotterdam, NL
TypeOffices, Public Spaces, Recognitions, Sustainability
GCA and Municipality of Rotterdam
Partners in charge
Nanne de Ru, Stijn Kemper
Partner in charge
Project lead
Project team
Melissa Fourie
Severino Iritano
Marah Wagner
Beyza Uyar
Structural engineer
MEP consultant
Project management
Floating foundation
Wood structure engineer
Building installations

FOR the future

Taking a dip in the swimming pool

FOR the future

FOR is a vision of what sustainable architecture can be. A modular, timber building on a floating platform, with a deceptive simplicity. It combines many high-tech sustainable solutions – including a water-cooling system and solar panels – with low-tech ones, such as the passive shading provided by the pitched roof and overhanging terraces. The combination of these various solutions is an innovative take on sustainable architecture and results in a building that is natural and unforced. The wood construction, green roof, and clarity of design create an architecture that is friendly and human, rather than high-tech. In this way, FOR sets the tone for the transformation of the Rotterdam Rijnhaven port – now becoming a lively residential area. Adding to the new vibe are FOR’s own restaurant Putaine and harbor swimming pool.

Staggered balconies provide shade

Inspiring workspaces

One of our four meeting rooms in FOR
Custom pieces like the lamp add our own stamp
Wood creates a warm backdrop
Quiet booths were a popular request
Open spaces offer many options
Always our trademark: vintage design
Fantastic floor-to-ceiling views
The office seen from the terrace
01 - 08

A place of our own

Floor to ceiling windows on all floors allow direct access to the outdoors

A place of our own

The Floating Office Rotterdam houses three offices, including the new home of Powerhouse Company. We occupy half of the ground floor and the second floor, about 1600 m2 in total. To feel at home in our office, we organized workshops with team leaders to ensure their input and opinions. We put all ideas on the table to create the right program. One of most requested features was the quiet booth – a silent place to focus and work. Other popular demands include places to display work in progress – we obliged with moveable magnetic walls that can migrate around the office – and meeting spaces. To four meeting rooms we added informal, open meeting areas and a beautiful company restaurant. The ground floor beautifully opens up to the outdoor terrace.

Welcome to our world

The onyx bar in our restaurant
A starring role for our Coquille chairs
The central staircase doubles as a theater
The reception with a marble desk
A flexible meeting room that can double in size
Our restaurant flows out onto the terrace
01 - 06

Workplace wonders

Central staircase in the tribune

Workplace wonders

While our ground floor space is devoted to social areas, including the reception, restaurant, and meeting rooms, the upper floor is a place of more introverted inspiration. Here, our workspaces have energizing views and our libraries are full of ideas – one for books and another for materials. An oiled oak staircase connects the two levels. Throughout the interior, the simple modular structure of FOR is always the main visual feature and gives the space its serene quality. The beams feature a gray coating, intended to prevent uneven coloration caused by sunlight, while the ceiling is softly reflective aluminium throughout. In the materials library, pink translucent panels are lit top and bottom to create a magical glowing effect. Museum-quality design – some of it displayed on trestles from the building’s construction – add extra creative stimulation.

Spaces of inspiration

The library, with the office’s comfiest chairs
Magical in pink: the materials library
Museum-quality design pieces on display
Home from home: a cozy office nook
01 - 04
A library of materials

Designing a sustainable, floating office building was a challenging commission and we approached it in an integrated way.

The urban outdoors

We work and relax on the water
View of the swimming pool
Taking time out for a dip
A mini terrace landscape
Discovering the deck
Balconies surround FOR
01 - 06

Rational, effortless, elegant

FOR reflected in the waters of the Rijnhaven

Rational, effortless, elegant

Our building’s floating foundation – its concrete pontoon – needed to be constructed offsite at three separate locations, then put together and finally towed through the bridge leading to the Rijnhaven. This determined the maximum dimensions of our building and was the reason that we opted for a long, horizontal design. As the building was to be circular, its structure needed to be simple and demountable, so we based the architecture on a 6-meter grid throughout. The wooden elements too were constructed offsite and towed to the port. These basic facts – we preferred not to see them as limitations – inspired our pragmatic design. The final result is rational, elegant, and down to earth. Carefully concealing the installations ensured that both in and outside the building is streamlined: graceful, and seemingly effortless.

Our technical and sustainable systems are so well integrated with our design that they feel quite natural.

Au naturel

Modular beam construction in laminated timber
The facade is finished in heat-treated pine
Oiled oak stairs meet mirrored surface
Illuminated onyx for the restaurant bar
01 - 04

North Elevation

East Elevation



Ground floor

First floor

Second floor

Dive into the details
Dive into the details
Lessons in Living, Learning, and Working in Wood

The building structure is designed in wood and can easily be demounted and re-used. It’s ready for the circular economy.

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Jakoba Mulderhuis

Perfectly Engineered