Water Woods by NEXT Architects connects the Maas river with the city of Rotterdam

The Amsterdam-based firm has designed and delivered the first of the Maaspoints, an urban installation along the river that celebrates its relationship with the city.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : Oct 14, 2020

Amsterdam-based NEXT Architects and H+N+S Landscape Architects have designed a unique connection to celebrate the relationship between river and city, its people and nature. Located on the southwestern tip of the Brienenoord Island of Rotterdam in Amsterdam, the location offers views of both the city skyline and the iconic Brienenoord Bridge, where ships pass by daily and nature flourishes. The installation named ‘Water Woud’ (Water Woods) has been designed as a forest of steel pipes that creates various opportunities and thoroughfares to create views over the Maas River towards the city.

  • Water Woods is an installation created using steel pipes on the edge of the Maas river in Rotterdam | Water Woods Maaspoints | Next Architects | STIRworld
    Water Woods is an installation created using steel pipes on the edge of the Maas river in Rotterdam Image: Jeroen Verrecht
  • Water Woods, a new urban space for the Rotterdam city | Water Woods Maaspoints | Next Architects | STIRworld
    Water Woods, a new urban space for Rotterdam city Image: Jeroen Verrecht
  • The Water Woods installation aims to create a recreational landmark for the people of Rotterdam | Water Woods Maaspoints | Next Architects | STIRworld
    The Water Woods installation aims to create a recreational landmark for the people of Rotterdam Image: Jeroen Verrecht

“The Maas is Rotterdam's most important urban space. It connects the city with the port, the sea, Europe and the rest of the World. It forms a connection between North and South, and it divides the city districts,” inform the design team at Next Architects. “The river and its waterfront hold so much potential as an attractive public space, a place for people to enjoy. Its natural value can greatly improve by changing hard edges like quays into soft natural embankments and by doing so introducing tidal parks along the Maas”.  To encourage this change, the Rotterdam-based, international offshore contractor company Van Oord, along with NEXT Architects, presented to the city a gift to honour the river as the city’s lifeline, inviting people to interact with the river and appreciate its many qualities.

  • Water Woods provides vantage points towards the Maas river and the city | Water Woods Maaspoints | Next Architects | STIRworld
    Water Woods provides vantage points towards the Maas river and the city Image: Jeroen Verrecht
  • The urban landscape installation creates a commemoration for the city’s association with the river | Water Woods Maaspoints | Next Architects | STIRworld
    The urban landscape installation creates a commemoration for the city’s association with the river Image: Jeroen Verrecht
  • Steel pipes that appear like tree trunks used for the urban landmark | Water Woods Maaspoints | Next Architects | STIRworld
    Steel pipes that appear like tree trunks used for the urban landmark Image: Jeroen Verrecht

Water Woods functions as a double look-out. On one side, one can climb up to watch the vessels pass by and enjoy the panoramic view. On the other side, one can descend into the wondrous world of specific water flora and fauna. The bottom of the steel pipes demonstrates the tidal flows and makes one discover unique delta species, such as the characteristic spin-dotter flower and sweet water mussels, that use the structure as habitat. Towards the upper side of the pipes, birds and bats nest and breed.

  • The bottom of the steel pipes showcases the flora and fauna such as the spin-dotter flower and sweet water mussels | Water Woods Maaspoints | Next Architects | STIRworld
    The bottom of the steel pipes showcases the flora and fauna such as the spin-dotter flower and sweet water mussels Image: Jeroen Verrecht
  • Water Woods in context of the Maas river in Rotterdam  | Water Woods Maaspoints | Next Architects | STIRworld
    Water Woods in context of the Maas river in Rotterdam Image: Jeroen Verrecht

In November 2018, Water Woods was officially presented to the deputy mayor Bert Wijbenga as a gift to all the citizens of Rotterdam to celebrate the 150-year anniversary of Van Oord. The Water Woods marks the beginning of a series of ‘Maaspoints’ where people can get in contact with the Maas, experience the tides, the power of the water, and its sounds, smells and natural values. With the Water Woods, Van Oord created the first Maaspoint. Other Maaspoints have also been identified along the river intended to be interventions like the Water Woods – related, but unique.

  • The Water Woods installation is the first of the various Maaspoints that are planned to appear on the edge of the Maas river | Water Woods Maaspoints | Next Architects | STIRworld
    The Water Woods installation is the first of the various Maaspoints that are planned to appear on the edge of the Maas river Image: Jeroen Verrecht
  • Water Woods creating a connect with the Maas river in Rotterdam | Water Woods Maaspoints | Next Architects | STIRworld
    Water Woods creating a connect with the Maas river in Rotterdam Image: Jeroen Verrecht

A poetic and mysterious representation, the structure and its experience commemorate the harbour, the client - Van Oord’s activities, as well as its context - the wooded Van Brienenoord island. The Maaspoints, starting with the Water Woods, begin a celebration of the city’s connect with the Maas river and creates vantage points for people to rejoice and appreciate its relationship with the city over the years.

Project Details

Name: Maaspoints / Water Woods
Programme: Landmark, Lookout Point
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Client: Van Oord – Marine Ingenuity
Architects: NEXT Architects
Design Team: Bart Reuser, Marijn Schenk, Michel Schreinemachers with Jorn Kooijstra, Bastiaan Luik
In Collaboration with: H+N+S Landscape Architects
Advisor: Buro Rietveld
Size: 150 sqm (Footprint) / 8 M (Height)
Costs: € 500,000
Status: Completed
Preliminary Design – Final Design: November 2018 – March 2019
Started Building: September 2019
Completion: December 2019

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