Goodbye, windmill. The Dutch clean energy movement will soon have a new face: the windwheel. Come 2020, the shores of Rotterdam will be home to the 570-foot-tall Dutch Windwheel, a giant mixed-use structure distinguished by its unique circular shape and energy-positive output.

The steel-and-glass creation, designed by BLOC and Meysters in collaboration with Doepel Strijkers architecture studio, will rise above Europe’s largest port from a subaquatic foundation, giving the illusion of buoyancy. Visitors will have a chance to experience the wheel firsthand with forty mobile cabins that transport travelers around the structure’s circumference, offering views as far as Delft, The Hague, and Dordrecht. Upon its completion, the Windwheel will house both a 160-room hotel and a 72-unit residential development.

Function, however, is what will earn the Windwheel its acclaim. The wheel, known as the Electrostatic Wind Energy Converter (EWICON), will transform wind energy into usable electricity without mechanical input. Moreover, the building has been imagined with Rotterdam’s residents in mind—its technology runs silently, without casting the distracting intermittent shadows often associated with wind energy. Above all else, the building will give the booming city of Rotterdam its own distinct landmark and is expected to draw 1.5 million new visitors annually.

POSTED BY: archdigest / Mitchell Gilburne

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