Architect: De Urbanisten

Year realisation: 2013

Size: 9.500 sqm

Location: Rotterdam, NL

Elements: water storage, playground, greenery

Materials: stone, greenery

Before the De Urbanisten redesigned the Benthemplein the square was paved with grey stones. Students from the schools around the square came up with the question to change the Benthemplein in a more positive outdoor space. In the new design the De Urbanisten worked together with students of the schools and inhabitants of the neighbourhood. The Benthemplein combines an improvement of an urban space with the function of water storage. The square can ‘absorb’ the rainwater during heavy rainfalls in tree different basins. If the basins are empty, the biggest basin can be used as a playground to play basketball for example.

I like this public space because of the way it was developed, with the people who would be at the square the most. Also the possibility of multifunctional usage is inspiring. Although I think it isn’t a nice place to hang around for a couple of hours during a sunny afternoon, during a quick break to get some fresh air it works fine.


62 High space – because of the lower basins, you are on a higher level. This provides an overview over the basins.

69 Public outdoor room – if you are standing in the lower basins, you have a kind of embraced feeling, which could be seen and experienced as an outdoor room.

71 Still water – during a lot of rain the basins will be filled with that water. 

106 Positive outdoor space – I think this is a nice example that a park can have different functions. The collaboration between the architects and people who use the square is a positive aspect as well.

125 Stair seats – the basins are formed by stairs, which mainly are the only seating options and they are used that way.

126 Something Roughly in the middle – the design of the basins.


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