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INTERVIEW: MVRDV’s Anton Wubben on the Design of the Massive Tunnel-Shaped Rotterdam Market Hall
INHABITAT: The building is of a massive scale (100,000 sq m public market space covered in an arch of ten floors of 228 apartments) and incorporates a variety of diverse uses into one structure – what is the approach to managing the design/construction of such an elaborate building?
Anton: We worked closely with the different advisors form the start of the design to be sure that we wouldn’t miss a thing, and that the design would be integrated. From the start it was clear that the design would be a development of all specialties and that it would require some unconventional solutions.
For example, the facade has been carefully developed by our design team together with companies with a wide experience of making these kinds of complicated facades. We wanted an “invisible” facade to connect inside and outside, without huge beams behind the glass. We have been looking at examples abroad and have been talking to the developers of these facades.
By including all the advisors in the design process from the beginning, a lot of problems were avoided. But more importantly, having all the specialists in one room from the beginning made it possible to develop the design on all levels and to create a truly integrated design. An example of the product of this is the fresh air that is needed in the market space.
INHABITAT: How has the design been received thus far by the residents of Rotterdam?
Anton: People like the building and see it as an icon that Rotterdam can identify itself with. At this moment the building site is just very impressive being an enormous gap of two soccer fields in plan with a depth of about 15 meters. Everyone is excited to see the building unfold.
INHABITAT: What is your favorite part of the design?
Anton: I’m looking forward to the moment when I am standing on one of the glass floors on the patio of the penthouses that give a 90 degree view on the market 35 meters below. It is the perfect example of a succesful integration of apartments and the market itself.
INHABITAT: What do you hope the market hall will bring to the city of Rotterdam?
Anton: The Market Hall will be a great social place to meet, to buy food, have a drink or good dinner. It will be a great meeting place and a space that is like no other. On an urban level it will give extra energy to the development of the Laurens quarter, which is the pre-war center of Rotterdam. It will help to connect this area with the new city center.
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