Rotterdam is a city that suffered greatly in the Second World War. After most of the historic city centre was flattened in the Rotterdam Blitz, it gave the city the space and opportunity to rebuild and lead the way with modern and interesting architecture. One of the iconic buildings that puts Rotterdam on the map for many are the cube houses.
Built by Piet Blom over thirty years ago, the residential development is similar to one he completed in nearby Helmond. The challenge was to build homes while being economical with the space, leading to the homes being above the usual ground floor level. Inspired by nature, the complex represents a forest, with each structure like a tree.
Primarily a residential community, there are 38 houses and 2 ‘super cubes’. The cube houses drew so much attention from people that Kijk-Kubus opened up as a museum style show-home. Anyone curious enough now has the opportunity to step inside and see for themselves what’s held inside the elusive cube houses.
Stepping in from the street, a steep flight of stairs greets you. This is the ‘tree trunk’ of the house, and also serves as a storage area. Up to the first floor and the main living area opens up, with a lounge and kitchen with dining area. From the outside, you wonder how they manage to fit a whole home in there, but it’s surprisingly spacious inside and the space is well used. The central walls are vertical, while the exterior walls are obviously slanted and it’s interesting to see how the furniture fits.
Heading up another floor, there are more rooms, used in the show home as a bedroom and study. Growing up in a home with square rooms and straight walls, as many of us have, it’s interesting to see how the different angles affect the feel of the room.
Another flight of steps up – how are they fitting all these floors in?! – and light floods a small room in the top tip of the cube from the large windows that aren’t present in the rest of the house. It’s a lovely, warm space that feels like a conservatory, and although all of the furniture is somewhat dated, it actually feels futuristic. From here, the views of the other cube houses really gives the feel of being on the treetops.
The tour of the show home is an interesting insight into how these structures can be a home, and worth the small entrance fee. If a tour just wouldn’t be enough for you, you can actually stay in one of the iconic cube houses. Stayokay have hostel dorms and private rooms available, all of which are obviously super quirky!
If you’re looking for a different kind of quirky accommodation, check out the pods at CityHub.
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