Schouwburgplein (Rotterdam)

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Template:Inline-citations Template:Infobox street Theatre Square (or in Dutch : Schouwburgplein) is situated in the heart of the city of Rotterdam, and is flanked by the municipal theatre, concert hall, central station, restaurants, and shopping malls.

As an urban stage and an interactive open space, the 12.250 square meters Theatre Square is designed by West 8, the landscape architecture firm founded by Adriaan Geuze. The design emphasizes the importance of a void, which opens a panorama towards the city skyline. It was open to the public in 1996.

About the design

The layout of the square is based on the expected use at different times of the day and its relationship to the sun. These sunlight-zones are reflected in the mosaic of the different materials used on the floor. The West side of the square is a poured epoxy floor containing silver leaves. The East side (with more sunlight) has a wooden bench over the entire length and warm materials including rubber and timber decking on the ground plane. Pelargonium geraniums are also placed seasonally within this warm zone.

Fifteen-meter high ventilation towers from the underground parking are strong vertical elements on the square. Each of these lightweight steel structures is activated with LED displays. Together the three towers form a digital clock. At night, the towers are lit from the inside spreading a soft filtered light. The centre of the square is finished with a deck of perforated metal panels and a wooden play area. The perforated metal panels are lit from below with white, green and black fluorescent tubes. Connections for electricity and water, as well as facilities to build tents and fencing for temporary events, are built into the floor.

Fluorescent lights form a radiant Milky Way at night. The whole square seems to be floating because of the linear lights that are mounted under the edge of the raised deck. The last major features of the square are the four hydraulic lighting elements. Their configuration can be interactively altered by the inhabitants of the city.


Despite its prime location, the Theatre Square was formerly a dead urban space, infrequently used, and dilapidated. It was featureless byproduct of commercial development. This situation did not change until West 8 came to the square.

External links and references