The cube houses (Kubuswoningen) of Rotterdam are an innovative architectural solution to building housing on top of a pedestrian bridge. The promenade itself is raised up above street level so that people can pass below.
The individual houses are meant to look like trees, and the whole housing complex is supposed to look like a modern, manmade forest. Which I guess it does. If you squint really hard, and have already had several beers, and have never seen a forest before.
This project was conceived by Dutch architect Piet Blom and constructed in the early 1980s. Many of the original inhabitants are still living here. (Because let’s be real. If you secured one of these bizarre houses, you wouldn’t give it up either.)
And since so many curious people come to see these houses, one of the owners decided to open up a “show cube” for people to come walk around the inside of one of these things.
(Hi, that’s us. The curious people who want to see the inside of a cube house.)
Each house is built in the shape of a tilted block, perched atop a concrete pole. There’s a storage room at the promenade level, and the entrance to the home (which you’ll find up a flight of very Dutch stairs).
(At this point, I really hope you haven’t already had several beers. You might see the housing complex as a forest, but you will never make it up these stairs alive.)
After you make the precipitous climb, you’ll find that the cube itself somehow manages to have 3 floors.
The first floor is the “living space,” complete with a kitchen, dinner table, and small bathroom. All furniture and countertops must be custom-made to fit the slanted dimensions of the cube, because there are so many weird nooks and angles.
The next floor up is called the “sky house” because it is directed upwards toward the sky. (And because the architect was probably plumb out of creativity at this point.) This floor has two bedrooms, a bathroom with a tub and shower, and a small hallway.
(Plus another random person who wants to see the inside of a cube house.)
Built-in shelving allows for storage of Star Wars/Lord of the Rings figurines, as well as some books.
And lastly, the top floor, or “tabernacle,” is at the very peak of the cube. Here’s a view of what that looks like from the outside.
And here’s a view of what that looks like from the inside. (Plus a cute human.)
These houses are only 100 cubic meters. So that’s about it! Walking through the whole thing only takes a couple of minutes.
But if you want to look at more pictures (or maybe even spend the night in a cube house!!) there’s a listing on Airbnb that will give another glimpse. And also a hostel, built inside a giant supercube.
And while I would normally encourage imbibing in the local brews, if you stay in a cube house, maybe lay off the Amstel and Heineken. Because staying in a cube house would probably be awesome, but climbing a staircase would be a sad way to die.