To our knowledge, no contemporary city has as many architectural infopoints as Rotterdam. Here, one finds books and magazines proclaiming "HoogBouw is a must" in the "Manhattan on the Maas". "Zooiets Amerikaansch" emphasizes a desperate strategy to borrow or recycle a mythology from the distinct skylines of New York or Chicago. The current trend, best satisfying the objectives of Dutch National Policy, is to build mixed-use skyscrapers and multifunctional megaprojects. Perhaps soon, the highest will be 200m. The ghost of the port translates into formal metaphors and fashion-able slogans like "werken en wonen an de Maas" where new construction prevails over adaptive re-use. Throughout the years, many a famous architect left mediocre to monumental droppings and perhaps in no other city have so many dreams and masterplans been submitted by hungry planners and architects. And indeed, as seen in the infopoints masterplans, images and models, there is very, very much on the horizon.
Therefore, Rotterdam has proclaimed itself THE CITY OF ARCHITECTURE. This identity is best represented by a collaged skyline of high-rise and architectural monument, a logo found on govern-ment letterhead to the sides of pizza delivery vans. But what exactly is this image symbolic of? Upon closer look, the collage consists primarily of inaccessible corporate headquarters and exclusive cool-design housing, a juxtaposition of exclusive elements scattered far across the city.
The Rotterdam skyline has an insatiable appetite. The constant reconstruction dynamic renders an unattainable image: a feedback loop where before one project can complete, another void reveals itself becoming a target of urban development.
"The ensemble of symbols represents the social order and the individuals place in it, a formulation that always leaves the genesis of this arrangement unquestioned."