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14
Bert Hermans

'Overblaak' (Rotterdam)
Oil on linen
80 x 80 cm

This painting was made after an early evening stroll from station Blaak to the library passing the Blaak tower (Blaaktoren) to the Market Hall in Rotterdam. In the glass facade of the road in front of the Blaak station, the 'Blaaktoren' (nickname 'Het Potlood' or Pencil Tower) and the Cube Houses on the opposite site were visible.The evening sun reflected the buildings in the glass of and their reflections formed the inspiration for the painting called 'Overblaak'.

The Blaaktoren was designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom, very well known for the design of the Cube Houses next to the tower. The Pencil Tower is a hexagon-shaped tower just like a pencil.
Cube houses (Dutch: Kubuswoningen) are a set of innovative houses built in Rotterdam and Helmond in the Netherlands, designed by architect Piet Blom and based on the concept of "living as an urban roof": high density housing with sufficient space on the ground level, since its main purpose is to optimise the space inside. Blom tilted the cube of a conventional house 45 degrees, and rested it upon a hexagon-shaped pylon. His design represents a village within a city, where each house represents a tree, and all the houses together, a forest. The central idea of the cube houses around the world is mainly optimizing the space, as a house, to a better distribution of the rooms inside.
The houses in Rotterdam are located on Overblaak Street, right above the Blaak metro station. There are 38 small cubes and two so called 'super-cubes', all attached to each other.
As residents are disturbed so often by curious passers-by, one owner decided to open a "show cube", which is furnished as a normal house, and is making a living out of offering tours to visitors.