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A small city

De Zonnetrap in Rotterdam is like a city in microcosm. The design by Enrico and Lucia Hartsuyker won a limited competition for a retirement complex. The building’s multifunctional concept was in contrast to the separation of functions in architecture of the post-war reconstruction era. Behind and below the apartments is a large hall containing offices and workplaces. This hall is a public area, leading to amenities including a shoe-mender, a bank, a café and snack bar, which are also accessible to local residents. The diversity of users and urban functions are intended to promote a lively environment for the retirement complex. The apartments are arranged in a stepped formation on the south façade, creating terraced balconies for each residence. This creates an animated façade and the suggestion of a small city.