Penthouse West

An Evocative Expansion

We converted a neglected 1968 office building into stylish apartments – creating our own dream home in the process by adding a glass-box penthouse to the roof, framing the superb views of Rotterdam’s skyline. While it’s a real feat of contemporary engineering – as the largest load-bearing glass façade in north-western Europe – our glass intervention was inspired by America’s Midcentury Modern architecture: a transatlantic complement to the European Modernist structure it stands on.Penthouse West received recognition by AR House Awards’ longlist and The International Design & Architecture Awards shortlist. Additionally, it was commended by the Rotterdam Architecture Prize.

Time span2016 - 2019
Size500 m²
LocationRotterdam, NL
TypeInteriors, Living, Recognitions
Nanne de Ru and Nolly Vos
Partner in charge
Nanne de Ru
Partner in charge
Project team
Dirk-Jan Schaap,
Marco Overwijk
Tobias Tonch
Structural engineer
BREED Integrated Design
Glass supplier
Studio Lap

We didn’t want to lose this place. Taking the initiative for re-use was the only way to live at the top of the building.


Volumes placed ‘free’ in space to create dynamic room-dividers
Volumes placed ‘free’ in space to create dynamic room-dividers


The height of nearly 12 feet béton brut – the raw, concrete ceiling characterizes the fourth floor of the building. Rooms on this level root in the existing building structure, creates integrated experiences of space and are clad in American walnut veneer,an appreciated material with a Modernist heritage. The design respects the original architecture of the building with the choice of materials throughout, as we wanted to incorporate the ones as often used in Rotterdam’s post-war period architecture. Our signature spiral staircase connects the top floor with the newly created penthouse, where modern and refined travertine is used instead of the raw concrete.

A signature spiral staircase connecting the two floors

Glass and Stone Aerie

Largest load-bearing and ultra-clear glass façade in north-west Europe

Glass and Stone Aerie

The penthouse owes it’s eye-catching appearance to its largest load-bearing and ultra-clear glass façade in north-west Europe. The glass-box on the roof has a slight curving in the glass sheets, giving the facade elegance and not making it too boxy. A generous, shade-providing roof overhang and a defining round window make effortless transitions between inside and outside. The outcome is a spectacular, contemporary construction of a glass-and-stone aerie in Rotterdam of which its design matches the jaw-dropping views of the River Maas and the city skyline.

A Design Matching The View

Sleek and elegant structure sitting on the building
Glass sheets enclosing the house
The living room
The dining room
01 - 04

Materials are important to the mix, as we wanted to incorporate ones used in post-war Rotterdam, such as travertine, mahogany, and green stone.

A Warm Glow

Kitchen details
Kitchen details

A Warm Glow

The kitchen is an homage to Rotterdam’s midcentury-modern architecture of the post-war reconstruction era, executed in a sumptuous palette of materials. The counter is made of Italian green serpentino stone, the cabinets of Mahogany wood, and the black backsplash is painted glass. The gold resin cabinets cast a warm, golden light in the kitchen.

Behind the travertine façade, the inside spaces offer warmth, greater privacy and intimacy.

The bathroom entirely covered in silver travertine

Interesting and high-contrast spatial experiences



4th Floor


5th Floor

Site plan

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