Imagine a home that reaches towards the sky, that feels like a treehouse but is in the middle of a busy city center. This best describes the cubic houses of Rotterdam, a popular tourist attraction for architecture fans.
Dutch architect Piet Blom designed the cubic houses, otherwise known as Kubuswoning, and construction was completed in 1984.. The result of his work is a series of buildings unlike you’ve ever seen before. The houses are located in Rotterdam, an hour outside Amsterdam. Their origins dates back to the 1970’s when Blom designed his first cube houses in the city of Helmond, but the project went much larger in Rotterdam.
The cubic houses of Rotterdam are an architectural wonder that may be a bit dizzying when you first notice them, however, they’re a must-see on a trip to the Netherlands. I first noticed the houses when looking for a new AirBNB to stay at in the Netherlands, and I found the Rotterdam cubic houses. Rotterdam has a proud tradition of modern architecture, particularly as most of the city center was bombed in World War II and was rebuilt in a modern style. The city’s planners wanted to revitalize the area and thought Blom’s work was the solution. Blom was requested by the city to Rotterdam to construct housing that would work on top of a pedestrian bridge area, and the cubic houses fit perfectly in this need. The cubes are located in one of the busiest parts of the city center, and their design creates an abstract forest, achieving Blom’s dream of an “urban treehouse.”
Each Cube House features a triangular roof and was constructed on a concrete pillar, then framed by wood. The homes each feature three floors, with the same layout in each residence: the ground floor contains the entrance, the first floor has the open kitchen and living room space, and the second floor contains a bathroom and two bedrooms. You may find the set-up a little disorienting at first as the walls are slanted, but guests say you quickly get used to it. The design includes 3 sides facing the ground and 3 sides facing the sky.
You’ll find the Cube Houses near Rotterdam Blaak station and it’s even possible to stay inside one. Not only do they pop up on AirBNB, there’s also a hostel, Stayokay Rotterdam, with shared facilities and dormitory-style bunk beds. Not far from the Cube Houses are the Maritime Museum and Holland’s largest indoor market, Market Hall.
If you don’t feel like staying inside a cube house for a night, you can also tour a fully-furnished model, Kijk-Kubus, or Show-Cube, open 11 to 5 daily. You’ll have to ascend a steep set of steps to reach the ticket space in the living room, but the climb is worth it. Outside the Cubic Houses you’ll find a playground, small businesses and shops, plus the area around it has plenty of restaurants and cafes to enjoy. If you’re planning a European vacation, particularly near Amsterdam, be sure you put this on your stop list.