Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: MVRDV’s Reflective Art Depot Breaks Ground in Rotterdam

The new building is conceived as a cylindrical volume wrapped in mirrored glass, which will reflect the surrounding city and cause the building to blend with its environment.

Paul Keskeys Paul Keskeys

Dutch firm MVRDV is known for breaking with architectural convention, and the experimental practice is now set to take its explorations to a new level in the Netherlands with an entirely new building typology. Today, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for the firm’s radical addition to the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, a 161,000-square-foot (15,000-square-meter) public art depot that will give everyone the chance to view previously unseen works owned by the City.

Entitled Collectiegebouw, the new building is conceived as a cylindrical volume wrapped in mirrored glass, which will reflect the surrounding city and cause the building to blend with its environment. This sweeping surface will double up as an interactive art installation, visitors taking pictures of their reflections in a similar manner to those beneath Anish Kapoor’s iconic Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

“It is fantastic that the public art depot will be realized,” said Winy Maas, principal architect and cofounder of MVRDV. “In this way, the entire population can share something that is normally hidden behind closed doors.” Meanwhile, Rotterdam City Councillor Adriaan Visser spoke of the depot’s potential to invigorate the wider region: “With Collectiegebouw, Rotterdam creates an icon the entire city will benefit from. The building will strengthen the cultural cluster around Museumpark and add to a lively inner city.”

Behind the mirrored façade, more than 145,000 exhibits will be arranged along a route that ascends around a central atrium with towering walls of art on either sides of staircases and gantry-style walkways. As well as displaying works owned by the City, the depot will also include space for private collections together with a tree-filled sculpture park on the roof, which will offer views over one of Rotterdam’s main cultural districts.

Today’s ceremony was attended by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam City Council, De Verre Bergen Foundation, MVRDV, IMD structural engineers, RHDHV consultants, Peutz Building Physics, ABT Facade Engineers, BAM Construction and Engineering and other stakeholders, and the project has a planned completion date of 2018. To learn more about MVRDV’s recent projects, be sure to check out the firm’s evolving profile page.

Paul Keskeys Author: Paul Keskeys
Paul Keskeys is Editor in Chief at Architizer. An architect-trained editor, writer and content creator, Paul graduated from UCL and the University of Edinburgh, gaining an MArch in Architectural Design with distinction. Paul has spoken about the art of architecture and storytelling at many national industry events, including AIANY, NeoCon, KBIS, the Future NOW Symposium, the Young Architect Conference and NYCxDesign. As well as hundreds of editorial publications on Architizer, Paul has also had features published in Architectural Digest, PIN—UP Magazine, Archinect, Aesthetica Magazine and PUBLIC Journal.
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