Rotterdam’s Black Pearl

If you happen to be in Rotterdam, don’t forget to check out this new architectural pearl in the Charlois district.

Located in the Pompstraat, the Black Pearl is a labor worker’s house that has been transformed into an award-winning spectacle that’s remarkable from both the outside and inside. Its new owner, interior designer Rolf of Studio, found a totally impoverished house (click here to see what it looked like) that had stayed empty for ten years. He bought it for 1 euro and renovated it totally along with Marnix van der Meer of Utrecht-based Zecc Architects. The results are fa-bu-lous.

From the outside it’s the black façade, including the old windows, that immediately grabs your attention. Two new metal window frames were placed without taking into account the position of the old windows. Inside, all floors and walls were taken out to reduce the interior to one big space. Some elements of the old house were integrated into the new design, such as an old banister and holes of wooden floor beams on the walls. The center of the interior contains a sculptural construction of wooden laths that marks a communicating space between the four walls of the historic building, together with newly added floors that form open living spaces that are connected by vides, big staircases and long view lines.

The ground level of the house gives place to a big workshop inside and a bamboo garden outside. The levels above accommodate space for living, cooking, eating, sleeping, a bathroom and a walk-in cabinet. On the top level, an old tile roof was removed to install a green house, which contains a jacuzzi that provides “a terrific view over Rotterdam”, says Rolf. “Floors, walls, stairs and ceilings fuse and (…) seem to evoke an ‘Escher-like’ impossibility”, he concludes. “All unneccesary or redundant staircase, balustrade or balcony fences, banisters and doors have been left out so the highest possible level of spatial abstraction is realized.” Click here for more pictures of the Black Pearl.