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Weronika Gras - "Bridge the gap: Multipurpose center, Rotterdam".

05 of November '21
Technical data
Type: master's thesis
Year of defense: 2020
Author: Veronica Gras
Wydział Architektury Politechniki Wrocławskiej

Dr. Ada Kwiatkowska

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Diploma Architecture".

The subject of the study is a volume bridge serving as a recreational center, located in the unused part of the Merwe-Vierhaven harbor in Rotterdam. The project is intended to draw attention to the links between architecture and contemporary problems of civilization, focusing primarily on the aspect of urban biodiversity loss and the responsiveness of architecture with the user.

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visualization and solid shaping scheme

© Weronika Graś

The concept touches on the broader environment and raises questions about the future of cities. The proposed solution is a suggestion that in a dynamically developing world focused on the use of technology, we should not forget about very basic solutions, such as access to nature, fresh air or water. In the project, I proposed a new typology of recreation center. It is the idea that living in a dense urban structure does not at all mean that people do not have access to green and biodiverse areas. They can find them and use them as public farms, biophilic coworking spaces or green exhibitions. This kind of center could bring a small improvement locally, but over time it would have a significant impact on our quality of life and climate change. Therefore, the facility on display becomes an example of a green, active space that integrates humans with nature. In addition, it highlights the important impact of education on the bioclimatic approach in architecture. It is also an attempt to manifest the need for a more ecological direction of development and transformation from a post-industrial abandoned space into a vibrant, diverse and colorful space.

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greenery and solid shaping scheme

© Weronika Graś

On each of the main floors, a different biotope, a separate micro-world, with different functions, sunlight and atmosphere has been created. As a result, the facility evolves over time, changing along with the vegetation that co-creates it.

The underwater level is the darkest, most mysterious, providing contact with the unknown world of the aquatic biotope. The room is bounded by glass walls and an acrylic plexiglass floor. The high transparency of the space provides visual access to the underwater atmosphere. Visitors can feel as if they are diving and discover the unique world of an unfamiliar environment. The indoor water patio is furnished with specific underwater species such as seaweed, kelp, water kelp, seagrass.

{Image@url=,alt=elewacja north elevation and underwater floor plan,title=north elevation and underwater floor plan}

North elevation and underwater floor plan

© Weronika Graś

The first floor is the main walking path. On this level we fulfill the basic function of the bridge, the communication is additionally equipped with recreational areas with low vegetation, seating areas around floating greenery and hanging plants. Here we encounter species such as water lily and cattail, as well as climbing plants such as ivy, aristolochia and wisteria sinensis.

przekrój and first floor planprzekrój and first floor planprzekrój and first floor plan

cross-section and first floor plan

© Weronika Graś

The +6m level with indoor plants such as monstera, chamedora, ficus, ceropegia, along with outdoor green pockets on the façade creates an extremely biophilic space for working, studying, meeting.

The top level has access to a rooftop terrace. It's a bright space full of daylight and beautiful views of the city and harbor. The rooftop garden has a natural, even meadow-like feel, with plants such as rosemary, daisies and lavender.

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C-C section and 3rd floor plan

© Weronika Graś

The architecture also leaves room for user interaction. Thanks to a system of movable platforms, they can adjust the space according to their individual needs. The use of innovative material solutions, such as green pockets on the hydroceramic facade, further emphasizes the innovative and conceptual nature of the work. It is a kind of manifesto considering the direction of future architecture and a metaphor for the interconnectedness of the user, technology and the environment.

Weronika GRAŚ

Illustrations: © Author

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