In the urban architecture of the seventies, the small scale housing was mainstream. It was a logical reaction to the monotonous high-rise and terraced houses of the sixties. One of the first architects who openly criticised the new small scale was architect Carel Weeber.
In Rotterdam, he realised a large number of housing projects.With the Peperklip he made an important statement. The almost 500 meters long housing block has, as the name suggests, the shape of an open paper clip.
The Peperklip is an almost closed block of elongated strips of four levels with round ´heads´ of seven and nine floors. The round heads contain duplexes open to galleries, at the end accessible by lifts. The standard components are long blocks of flats. The building includes 555 public housing dwellings: 197-three, 134 four and 148 five bedroom houses and 76 hvat units (for youth). The houses on the ground floor are for the disabled and elderly. The inner area was intended as collective garden, but only contains a small green part . The private gardens and specially designed aluminium prefabricated sheds dominate the inner area.
The block has a concrete facade with coloured tiles in a cheerful pattern. The square tiles are 10 by 10 cm in six colours: white, grey, black, red, yellow and blue. The graphic patterns in the coloured facade elements are not related to the underlying apartments. The facade is an autonomous, abstract design.
Since the presentation of the first plan the Peperklip was controversial. Architecture critics described the building as inhospitable, cold and merciless. Others praised the timeless, rational architecture, and saw the building as a liberation from the disastrous small scale. During the first year the building was often in the news, especially because of the many social problems among the residents.
The Peperklip was renovated in 1995. The gates to the infield were closed and the metal sheds were replaced by wooden sheds. In a second renovation in 2007 the building was not only updated, but also maintenance and lifestyles were addressed. After a competition among young architects the entrances were renewed by Henk Snoek.