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Art depots, which store artworks not on display, are typically tucked away from the public’s eye. However, the city of Rotterdam wanted to build a publicly accessible depot that would show off parts of the collection not on view and educate visitors on the logistics of art, including how pieces are restored and handled. Forty percent of the building’s 14,000 square meter footprint will be open to the public, with the remainder used for offices, storage, and private rooms where owners of private collections can come and visit their art.

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To minimize the Collectiegebouw’s impact on the Museumpark landscape, the building is designed as a compact round shape and is clad in reflective glass that lets the structure blend in with its surroundings. The public path that zigzags through the building leads from the lobby and cafe on the ground floor, through a series of exhibition spaces, and finally to the landscaped roof, which features a restaurant, sculpture garden, exhibition space, and transplanted trees salvaged from the construction site. The roof will also serve as the new home for Rotterdam’s Futuro, one of the rare UFO-shaped houses designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen.

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“It is fantastic that the public art depot will be realized,” says Winy Maas, principal architect and co-founder of MVRDV. “In this way the entire population can share something that is normally hidden behind closed doors.” The art depot is expected to open in 2018.

+ MVRDV

Images via MVRDV