This design was made during my study at the TU Delft department of Urbanism. After finishing an urban analysis of the wider Rotterdam Alexander area, a design was made for the central area of the polder, currently consisting of the large car-oriented Alexandrium shopping mall, an Intercity railway station, a highway and large business parks throughout the area. First, problems were identified, such as the low quality of the public space, the barriers made by the highway and railway infrastructure crossing the area, and the resulting low connectivity of the area to its surroundings. An important conclusion from the earlier analysis was that in the suburban polder the amount of spaces for public gathering was very low, because existing public space was mostly used for infrastructural purposes.
The concept for the design quickly became clear: create a new dense urban area, connected with its surroundings, and make it an important place for public gathering. The former barrier site is turned into a connector, not only physical, but mainly through adding connecting program. The current infrastructure is lowered from +1 to ground level, and a new urban level is built on top of this infrastructure level. On this new level, the plan came into function. The railway station is renewed and enlarged, new informal connections are made from different residential areas to the new center, and new urban functions are added, to create a new place, a hub for public gathering.
Technically and logistically, the redesign posed a set of challenges. Parking for over 4000 vehicles, a railway station, a national highway and part of a shopping mall are all located underneath a new high-density urban area, creating a new multi-layered public space. An integrated design ensures good orientation and a high quality public space for all layers in the new area. The design was visualized on paper through the use of 2D and 3D modeling software.