Architects: PEÑA architecture + AFARAI
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Principal Architect: Gabriel Raúl Peña
Engineering Consultant: Acropolis architects
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 2,606 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Peña Architecture
Construction Consultant: IOB engineering firm
Consultant Facilities: Installation Knipscheer BV
Acoustics consultant: LBP-Sight
Contractor: BAM Building Services
Installer: Installation Andriessen BV, Houten
Early 20th century in the northern part of Rotterdam, through the middle of 19th-century city suburbs and the nearby polder landscape, the Hofplein viaduct was built. This 1.9 km long viaduct forms the start of the Hofplein line route, a 28.5 kilometre railway line linking Rotterdam with The Hague and Scheveningen. The building of the Hofplein viaduct was a spectacular breakthrough in the development of railway viaduct construction. Never before had an elevated railway been built that consisted only of reinforced concrete, and that with a span of 1.9 km. National recognition followed in 2002 when the whole Hofplein viaduct was declared a National Monument.
In 2008, the development started with the first seven arches of the monument with the aim to give the environment a neighborhood quality boost The first seven of the monumental Hofplein Station is transformed into small shopping mall, a new creative hot spot in Rotterdam with its own character.
The Mini Mall accommodate special hospitality, retail original formulas from independent designers, innovative arts events & festivals and art initiatives, with the aim to house a healthy and vibrant mix of creativity and commercialism.
A special quality that’s added to the national monument is the public area (courtyard) through the arches where all the activities of individual entrepreneurs meet. So the monument was broken up from the street and made accessible to the public. Temporary events and pop-up formulas constitute the unifying factor within the Mini Mall and creating every time a new reality to be experienced.
In this area the entrepreneurs have also a storefront besides the storefront on the street but both of them are executed in Oregon Pine. The shopping windows ad daylight and transparency to the courtyard and brings out the activity between the shops and visitors.
The courtyard is not just designed to make the building accessible but also adds a new route to the area. People no longer need to go around the building but can use the courtyard to cross to the other side of the building. The Mini Mall also provides access to the largest open-air ground in the heart of Rotterdam. The roof (4000 sqm open air place) is during the summer the place for music, theater, film, dance and good food with the city as a backdrop.