Harbour area development

A social learning and working space

Rotterdam, NL | 2022 – | study | workshops, community building, talent development | transformation & new build | public

The Waalhaven/Sluisjesdijkpier location marks the pivot point between the neighbourhood and the harbour, between residential and industrial areas. This makes it a potentially suitable location for a social development enterprise, close to the target group and with the possibility of collaboration with businesses.

Waalhaven is situated within Rotterdam’s city ring, provides operational transshipment facilities and serves as a hub for logistic, industrial, maritime, and business services, as well as light and maritime industries. Sluisjesdijk, about 1.7 km long, features a mix of small garage businesses, large production facilities, and a range of enterprises from sole proprietors to international companies.

The social development enterprise should instil a sense of pride in its users, offering a pleasant working environment with a distinct identity. The primary space requirement concerns departments for sheltered work. Sheltered work is considered important not only from a social perspective (providing a socially safe work environment) but also from a physical safety standpoint. Hence, it is crucial that the workplaces are adequately enclosed. It’s possible that these departments may be run by partner companies.

The workshops are supported by teaching- and meeting rooms, facilities for specific training, and a desk for social assistance and support. Additionally, the location should serve as a gathering place for fieldwork: a spot to ’touch base’ before the workday begins, have lunch together, and conclude the day.

By adding publicly accessible programs, the location becomes more integrated with the neighbourhood. A community kitchen and thrift store are examples of programs that can contribute to visibility, accessibility, and connectivity.

The location offers ample logistical space for loading and unloading. The incorporation of a green outdoor area, such as a food garden, is desirable. This serves not only as a vocational training area but also to create a pleasant and healthy work environment.