Building 'Holland's Tallest Office Block': The Transnational Origins and Troubled History of a Speculative Office Development in Post-War Rotterdam.

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Date: Nov. 12, 2021
From: Architectural Histories(Vol. 9, Issue 1)
Publisher: Ubiquity Press Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 9,807 words
Lexile Measure: 1550L

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Abstract :

This article examines the remarkable surge of UK property development activity in the Netherlands which took place in the early 1970s, with a focus on Rotterdam. It explores some of the structural and commercial reasons behind this boom in transnational development activity, relating it to political and economic conditions on both sides of the North Sea. We examine the role of the property developer Town & City Properties Limited and its role in exporting UK development practices and techniques to the Netherlands, taking Rotterdam's SOM-designed Europoint Towers as a case study. This trio of hulking, 22-storey office towers dominated Europe's most important port. When erected, they were the tallest buildings in the Netherlands; when sold in the mid-1970s, they formed the largest property transaction the country had ever seen. The Europoint project provides an ideal lens through which to examine the growth and global transmission of new commercial architectures, along with the increasing internationalisation of commercial property development in this period. Architecture remained important to such projects, but the profession tended to become somewhat subsumed within the wider corporate structure of internationalising development companies, or else the work was contracted out to 'starchitects' to lend landmark building projects further prestige. This early episode of transnational urban property development provides new insights into the historical genealogy and chronology of the global commercial systems of architecture, development, and investment that dominate present-day cities.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A688529541