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: How did you get your start with MVRDV?
Anton: After my architecture studies in Delft, I worked for one year as a freelance researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. During this more analytic period of work I decided to finally move to the field of architecture. MVRDV was on the top of my list of offices to work at, and one interview and five days later I was working on my first deadline. At that time, the market hall was in the competition phase. I got interested in the project and joined the team in the next phase. During the process my role changed to project leader.
INHABITAT: Your office is based in Rotterdam — a city that is considered to be a hot-bed for modern design and architecture — do you feel that you have more freedom to pursue unconventional designs as a result?
Anton: Rotterdam is a very active and highly ambitious city with lots of new things happening. This always inspires people to be creative themselves and believe that they can make things happen.
INHABITAT: How did MVRDV’s involvement in the Rotterdam Market Hall project come about?
Anton: It started with the competition design that we submitted together with our client, Provast. The competition was held by the city. Not only did they make the decision to let our team build this project, but they are one of the investors of the project as they are the owners of the parking garage.
INHABITAT: What inspired the Market Hall design? What gave you the idea to flank housing on the outside of the structure?
Anton: The building is located at one of the biggest open squares of the Netherlands, which is surrounded by big massive buildings like the library and the Sint-Laurens church. We wanted to add another impressive volume to this palette.
The original masterplan showed two rows of apartments, with the space in between covered by a low roof. We imagined taking away this roof and “bending” the apartments over the market space would make more sense. It would create a fantastic space underneath the apartments and the two functions would be combined and work in synergy. The apartments have windows looking down to the market, making them special compared to standard apartments.