Rotterdam’s Rooftop Walk… Follow the Orange Road!

When the Highline opened in New York in 2009 the design world had never seen anything quite like it. Since then, tourists and locals have marvelled over the unique vantage point it presents of NYC, not to mention the success of the project from an urban and landscape design perspective.

Now, MVRDV in Rotterdam is taking over the city in a similar fashion with a 600m orange Rooftop Walk, which connects major buildings in the inner city. The installation is part of Rotterdam Rooftop Days, a festival that gives the public opportunities to explore rooftops that are usually inaccessible.

The striking orange colour, landscaping interventions and exhibitions en route make for a fully encompassing 600m walk. It’s a completely engaging structural marvel that uses simple mechanisms to span between buildings, creating bridges over some of Rotterdam’s most populated streets.

Although the installation is temporary, it presents an opportunity to consider our cities' rooftop spaces, which are so often underutilised and in disrepair. In this project, the public is encouraged to think about how our rooftops can be used to increase the sustainability of our cities; increasing plant life, as spaces for water storage and for food and energy production.

As designers, we should consider whether the rooftops of our projects can be programmed – what opportunities could they bring?