MECANOO, 1990-1998, Spangensekade, Toussaintstraat, Da Costastraat, Multatulistraat, Rotterdam
Chris de Weijer
The Spangen district was built between 1913 and 1922 to a monumental, symmetrical street plan by G.J. de Jongh. There have been moves in various quarters to improve the district's reputation which has been blackened by ghettoization and drug use and trafficking. Traditional housing blocks round Aagje Dekenplein have been tastefully renovated by Lugten Malschaert. Dilapidated premises in the so-called Wallis block have been literally given away, though their private 'takers' are obliged to pay for the expensive renovation themselves. There are other such projects with self-help housing and DIY dwellings. The housing on the banks of the river Schie was built in two phases. The first blocks retain the typical perimeter block type but avoid complicated corner treatments and tortuous floor plans by stacking rectangular components. The triangular block on Toussaintstraat is even opened up on one side creating a yard for the school incorporated in the block. The exteriors run the gamut of materials with a rich mix of brick, plaster, ribbed aluminium panels and perforated steel plate. The second phase (2004-2007), done in the currently popular retro style and much more monumental in character, is also by Mecanoo.