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MVRDV's Markthal Rotterdam Wins European Property Award

MVRDV’s Markthal in Rotterdam has received a High Commendation in the category of “Mixed-Use Architecture” at the 2015-2016 European Property Awards.

MVRDV's Markthal PR Campaign; Or, How We Learned the Price of Chicken

Becoming "the Sistine Chapel of Food" required a lot of invisible hard work. As Rotterdam's Markthal turns one year old, MVRDV's Head of Public Relations and Business Development Jan Knikker reflects on how the PR and media hype around Markthal Rotterdam was organized. This article is also supplemented by an interview conducted by ArchDaily with Winy Maas and Jan Knikker, which connects the parallel lines of the building's design and its PR campaign.

If I say that this is a PR story will you believe a single word? Markthal Rotterdam is a PR story with astonishing results: since its opening by queen Maxima in October 2014, our office MVRDV has nearly doubled in size to 110 staff members and it’s still growing. We - and The Financial Times - call it the “Markthal Effect”. In the first year the building reached over 8 million visitors, more than the Eiffel Tower, Bilbao Guggenheim or Tate Modern. 800 articles were published worldwide. It was hailed as a Sistine Chapel for food, a symbol of urban renaissance, a cool place to go. With the roughly 4 million visitors that came from outside of Rotterdam, the city saw its tourism grow.

How did that happen? It would be an easy assumption to think that a great building naturally attracts this kind of attention. But it all started quietly. In 2004 developer Provast and MVRDV won the competition with a plan that resembles the current design, except with one big difference: the colorful art piece which brightens up the inside of Markthal was at that stage also all over the outside facade. In any other city that would have lead to an instant protest movement against the zeppelin hangar covered in a gigantic fruit wallpaper. But not in Rotterdam. Public awareness started only once the construction became noisy.

© Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee © Ossip van Duivenbode © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee

Winy Maas and Jan Knikker on Markthal, PR, Awards and Architecture Media

Today marks one year since Queen Máxima of the Netherlands opened MVRDV's Markthal in Rotterdam to great public fanfare. In the 12 months since this event, the building has come to be recognized by the architectural establishment as being among the most important of MVRDV's designs. Perhaps more interestingly though, it has become widely popular among the general public - on Google you can find references to "Rotterdam's Sistine Chapel" in a variety of languages, and articles about the building have appeared in publications everywhere from Colombia to Vietnam.

MVRDV Head of Public Relations and Business Development Jan Knikker's article, published today on ArchDaily, shows that this widespread recognition was not accidental; it was the result of a widespread and comprehensive PR strategy initiated by MVRDV and carried out by a team that included every one of the building's major stakeholders. It's a fascinating and provocative tale that offers an insight into one of the least trusted facets of architectural practice. However, it also largely ignored one important element that undoubtedly contributed to the building's popularity: its design.

In order to connect the two parallel lines of Markthal's design and its PR campaign, we spoke to Knikker and founder of MVRDV Winy Maas to talk about Markthal, PR, awards and architectural media. Read on for the full interview.

© Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee © Nico Saieh © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee

Five Films to Watch at the 2015 Architecture Film Festival in Rotterdam

It's only logical that Rotterdam, one of Europe's leading cities for architecture and architectural practice, has a biennial film festival. Since its inception in 2000, the city's homage to architectural cinema now claims to be the biggest architectural film festival in the world. Featuring over one hundred international documentaries, feature films and shorts—as well as debates, lectures and seminars—this year's festival plans to "provide a podium for discussing the city and future of spatial development." From cinematic journeys into the world of the illusive Böhm family to Zaha Hadid, Chinese ghost cities to London's Barbican estate, this year's programme circles around the theme of the Global Home.

With the eighth incarnation of the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) opening next week (running from the 7th - 11th October 2015), we've selected our five top picks from this year's schedule.

Smog Vacuum in The Netherlands Turns Carbon Waste into Jewelry

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde of Studio Roosegaarde, in collaboration with Environmental Nano Studios and professor Bob Ursem, has created the world’s largest smog vacuum cleaner in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Dubbed Smog Free Tower, the 7-meter-tall vacuum acts as a filter that uses patented “ozone free ion technology” to clean 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour using only minimal wind and electrical energy.

Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde

'What is The Netherlands?' Exploring the World Expo at Rotterdam's Nieuwe Instituut

Now at the halfway point of the six month long World Expo in Milan, in which 145 countries are participating in a concentration of national spectacle surrounding the theme of "feeding the planet," Rotterdam's Nieuwe Instituut (HNI)—the centre for architecture in the Netherlands—is exhibiting an altogether more reflective display of national civic pride.

Rotterdam, which was blitzed and decimated during the Second World War, is a place well suited to host an exhibition whose underlying theme centres on the fragile, often precarious notion of national self-image. Following the war Rotterdam was forced to rebuild itself, carving out a new place on the world stage and reestablishing its importance as an international port. Now, seventy years later, Rotterdam is a very different place. In demonstrating just how delicate the construction of a tangible national identity can be this latest exhibition at the HNI offers up a sincere speculative base for self-reflection.

A chronology of chairs presents a brief history of Dutch seating at the World's Fair. Image © Peter Tijhuis Diagrammatic model by AMO of the 1970 Osaka pavilion by Carel Weeber and Jaap Bakema. Image © AMO Where the inner ring focuses on a dialectic between governance and lyricism, the second ring presents a selection of artefacts from the respective pavilions. Image © Mimmink The second (outer) ring features emblematic found objects  of Dutch innovation at the World's Fair. Image © Peter Tijhuis

Pop Up Luggage Space / TomDavid Architects

  • Architects: TomDavid Architects
  • Location: Holland Amerikakade 699, 3072 MC Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Architects in Charge: Tom van Odijk, David Baars
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Ossip van Duivenbode

© Ossip van Duivenbode © Ossip van Duivenbode © Ossip van Duivenbode © Ossip van Duivenbode

Casa F / PEÑA architecture

© Maarten Laupman © Maarten Laupman © Maarten Laupman © Maarten Laupman

“City of Light”: The Story of Willem Dudok’s De Bijenkorf Rotterdam

Produced by Dutch journalist Peter Veenendaal, City of Light is a documentary that covers the design, construction, and social effects of Willem Marinus Dudok’s De Bijenkorf in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. De Bijenkorf opened in Rotterdam in 1930, and after barely surviving the Second World War, it was destroyed in 1960 to make way for a Metro Station and a new store designed by Marcel Breuer and largely forgotten. City of Light presents Dudok’s shopping center as an important model for retail architecture that came about during the formative years of the shopping mall, and includes interviews with historians, former employees, and local enthusiasts to bring the building back to life.

Despite being relatively unknown today, Dudok’s De Bijenkorf was important not only for the architectural community, but also for the city of Rotterdam. In Veenendaal’s documentary, architectural historian Herman van Bergeijk remarks that at the time of its construction, De Bijenkorf was the “largest and most modern department store in Europe." The store was immensely popular with locals; according to the video over 70,000 people visited on opening day to explore the building, and over time, it became an icon of Rotterdam's growing commercial success.

McDonald's Pavilion on Coolsingel / mei architects and planners

© Jeroen Musch Courtesy of Mei architects and planners © Ossip Van Duivenbode © Jeroen Musch

Applications Open For The 2015 AA Visiting School In Rotterdam

This year the Architectural Association (AA) Visiting School programme will extend its reach to the Dutch city of Rotterdam – a place which, "by some strange twist of geographical and historical fate, has the highest concentration of architects and architectural thinkers in the world." The workshop, which will run for two weeks in July, will explore issues of inhabitance, perception, and intensity through analysis and creative interpretation of Rotterdam’s 'core' "or, more likely, its multiple cores, invisible to the untrained eye." Based in the Shell Tower on Hofplein, students will be afforded the opportunity to observe and analyse the city from on-high.

The Learn'd: A Film About the Poetry of Light and Space at KAAN Architecten's Education Center

The Learn'd, a short film directed by Victor Vroegindeweij (The Office for Nonfiction Storytelling, Hazazah Pictures), captures the poetry of light and space within KAAN Architecten's Education Center. Part of the Rotterdam academic hospital Erasmus MC, the center was once an abandoned atrium that was transformed into an "enlightened inner square" that united all the building's medical student programs under a single roof.

#donotsettle: User-Oriented Architecture Vlogging

Visiting Delft Station on opening day. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle
Visiting Delft Station on opening day. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle

The medium of film has long been employed to visualise, document and narrate architectural and urban space. Since the advent of more accessible devices to capture and record these journeys and explorations it has been used more frequently by practices and students in an attempt to develop new ways of experiencing built designs. #donotsettle, a YouTube channel established by two architects and urban enthusiasts while studying at TUDelft in The Netherlands, seeks to reconcile the disparity between film as architectural representation and as an experiential medium. Although not high in production value, their films are exciting examples of how user-oriented architectural 'vlogging' can uncover an entirely new way of understanding the world around us, imbued with a refreshing level of enthusiasm and authenticity.

Delft Station. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle Markthal, Rotterdam. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle Markthal, Rotterdam. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle Delft Station. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle

Bakkerswinkel / Piet Hein Eek

© Thomas Mayer
© Thomas Mayer
  • Architects: Piet Hein Eek
  • Location: Oostplein 223A, 3063 CE Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Area: 435.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Thomas Mayer

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

Architecture Documentaries To Watch In 2015

Following our top 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014 and our favourite 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013, 2015 is no exception! Our latest round up continues to feature a fantastic range of films and documentaries telling the tales of unsung architectural heroes and unheard urban narratives from around the world. This entirely fresh selection looks past the panoply of stars to bring you more of the best architectural documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and beguile.

From a film which explores one man's dream to build a cathedral (#4) and a simultaneous history of and vision of Rotterdam's future (#7), to a tour of the world's last surviving squatter town in Copenhagen (#14) and A Short History of Abandoned Sets in Morocco (#16), we present - in no particular order - thirty freshly picked documentaries for you to watch in 2015.

Photographic Exhibition Highlights The Relationship Between Brick And The Dutch

via Het Nieuwe Instituut
via Het Nieuwe Instituut

The Netherlands Builds in Brick is one of the latest exhibitions at Het Nieuwe Instituut (formerly the NAi) in Rotterdam. It seeks to modify the "assumed triumph of Modernism" in the interwar period, drawing upon two photographic collections from the Institute's extensive archives. The exhibition has been curated to highlight that brick remained the favoured construction material throughout the advocacy of the Modernist movement, even for experimental construction.

via Het Nieuwe Instituut via Het Nieuwe Instituut via Het Nieuwe Instituut via Het Nieuwe Instituut

Bus Station Canopies / MAXWAN architects + urbanists

  • Architects: MAXWAN architects + urbanists
  • Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Design Team: Rients Dijkstra and Hiroki Matsuura with Artur Boresjo, Nobuki Ogasahara Rene Sangers, Harm te Velde, Aleksandar Hrib.
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Filip Dujardin

© Filip Dujardin © Filip Dujardin © Filip Dujardin © Filip Dujardin