Urban Cactus is a housing project in the Vuurplaat section of Rotterdam by UCX Architects / Ben Huygen and Jasper Jaegers and done for Vestia Rotterdam Feijenoord/Estrade Projecten. Due to its siting at the end of harbor, the architects chose to conceptualize the project as belonging to the “green nerve” rather than the surrounding urban structure.
They placed the 98 residential units on 19 floors, using the pattern of outdoor spaces to determine the overall appearance of the project. The slightly irregular pattern alternates these outdoor spaces to create what are in effect double-height spaces. Each unit then receives more sunlight than a typical stacked composition. Also the terrace area might be equivalent to a constant depth extended around the perimeter (say two meters), but their configuration creates larger “rooms” for gardening and for enjoying the outdoors and the city views.
The ground floor has commercial space and a deepened plinth containing the entrance, depositories and parking space. The building includes four types of residences, varying from 65 to 110 square meters per residence. Two types of floors with 4 apartments and two more types of floors each with 6 apartments are enough to accommodate different houses. By rotating each floor type with accordance to the layout, a versatile pattern of thorny outside areas comes into existence. Every residence has its place in the overall façade. The size of the outside areas, the outline and the facilities to horticulture, maximize the garden feeling. A view over the city from the private garden creates a summit of urban living.