MVRD designed in Rotterdam the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the first publicly accessible art storage facility in the world. At the depot, everything revolves around the interaction between the visitors and more than 151,000 works that are stored in the various depositories. Visitors can – alone or in groups – take guided tours through the air-conditioned storage spaces or enjoy the rooftop forest and restaurant Renilde, both at a height of 35 metres.
The brief was to design a building that would be as inviting as possible, an engine room that reveals the world behind the storage and maintenance of a dazzling number of art and design works.
The MVRDV design team, led by architect and urban planner Winy Maas, opted for a round, sturdy, functional building that does not turn its back on its neighbours, instead establishing a new relationship with both the Museumpark and the city of Rotterdam.
The mirrored façade ensures that the building visually blends into its surroundings. The large entrance doors merge into the façade and only become visible during opening hours, when the façade opens up like a gadget out of a James Bond film. Every day – depending on weather conditions – the depot looks different, like a living painting.
Inside, the most eye-catching part of the building is the atrium, with its criss-crossing staircases and windows into the storage spaces that give the impression of a panopticon, with a view of the art from all sides.
The ambition was to create a building that seems to disappear into its surroundings, but at the same time is a safe house for the collection.
“The depot is a building that makes many people happy; skaters have their own place outside that will hopefully stay, while passers-by try to figure out the best place to stand to take a good selfie. As an architect, I hope that visitors will soon enjoy the interior, the rooftop forest, and the experience of being in direct contact with the art without the mediation of a curator. Our ambition was to give the Museumpark a new dimension, and to bring different target groups, from schoolchildren to Feyenoord fans, into contact with the Boijmans collection in an innovative way. We hope to have added a new work of art to Rotterdam's already rich architecture collection”, says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas.
MVRDV Studio has revealed Sun Rock, an operations facility for Taiwan’s government-owned power company Taipower, whose primary purpose is the storage and maintenance of sustainable energy equipment. The site for Taipower’s new facility receives a significant amount of solar exposure throughout the year, and so the rounded shape of Sun Rock is designed to maximise how much of that sunlight can be harnessed for energy.
The façade maximises this solar potential with a series of pleats, which support photovoltaic panels on their upper surface. The building can support at least 4,000 square metres of PV panels that would generate almost 1 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy per year – an amount of energy equivalent to burning 85 tonnes of crude oil – and making the building completely self-sufficient.
“This project has unique and fascinating potential […] We cladded the entire façade with photovoltaics, maximising the energy gains to make it not only self-sustainable, for its own usage, but also allowing the building to become a tool of energy production, exporting electricity to the rest of the grid. This is achieved through a maximally efficient positioning of the panels. As a result, our design is completely data-driven. It’s always fun to see the results when you let analysis be the determining part of the design”, says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas.
Valley, the dramatic, geology-inspired, plant-covered high-rise designed by MVRDV, stands out in Amsterdam’s Zuidas neighbourhood with its three towers of 67, 81, and 100 metres and its spectacular cantilevered apartments.
The enormously complex shape required a special commitment to fine detailing that further enhances the design concept. MVRDV’s technology experts created a series of custom digital tools to perfect the building.
On the outer edges of the building is a shell of smooth mirrored glass, which fits the context of the business district. Inside this shell, the building has a completely different, more inviting natural appearance, as if the glass block has crumbled away to reveal craggy rock faces inside replete with natural stone and greenery.
The building distinguishes itself in several ways: firstly, it combines offices, shops, catering, cultural facilities, and apartments in one building; secondly, the green valley that winds between the towers on the fourth and fifth floors is accessible to everyone via two external stone staircases. The building’s extensive planting, designed by landscape architect Piet Oudolf, hosts approximately 13,500 young plants, shrubs, and trees.
Winy Maas, Founding Partner, MVRDV: “How do you make an office district liveable? What should the homes be like? What else is needed? Those were the questions we started with when we designed Valley. Instead of a one-note business centre, this site along Beethovenstraat in Amsterdam is now a symphony of life – people working, yes, but also barbecuing on their terraces, visitors relaxing in the valley, shopping in the grotto, eating dinner by the street, and even the window cleaners and the gardeners scaling the heights above. Valley is a first step towards transforming this part of Amsterdam into a greener, denser, and more human city.”