11.10.2011 - 30.10.2011


OD 205 architects: J. Choisy, A. Hagoort en G. Martens + J. Prouvé (cover panels) a film by Ulco Janssen 41’00’’

The tower of Erasmus MC is, in my opinion, the most interesting piece of architecture in Rotterdam. I remember it being built when I was in art school. This was avant-garde architecture: constructed out of prefabricated concrete beams, an enamelled metal covering and windows fitted in rubber seals like in trains: a real statement about architecture for medical purposes, cool clean and functional.

Now, after 44 years, it still has this futuristic laboratorial look and is still as white and clean as it was at the beginning.
With other buildings I often feel disappointment when I see beautiful concrete skeletons being covered with some sort of constructions of tiles, but in the case of the Erasmus Medical Centre the beauty of the lines and the shapes of the enamelled alluminium panels still fascinates me.

For many years the building could be seen from all over Rotterdam as a white block,as a projection screen for moving clouds, becoming ultra bright white when the sun comes out. Now we will loose part of that view because of the new building next to it, a building that seems to be unaware of the beauty and the radical design of its timeless neighbour. So especially now it is interesting to watch the black and white documentary film made by Ulco Janssen, who followed the entire building process, not only at the building location but also in the factories where the elements were produced.

It is an amazingly detailed visual record of all the aspects of this experimental architectural project: the building construction, the industrial production and transport of the concrete elements, the production and installation of the steel covering, all filmed in breathtaking and often risky weather conditions on the very high scaffolding (with its 117 meters EMC was for many years the tallest building in the Netherlands).

Toine Horvers

Supported by Municipal Services for Arts and Culture, City of Rotterdam, Goethe-Institut Rotterdam and Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht.