Rotterdam just opened its doors to its newest urban landmark: the Markthal Rotterdam, a covered food market designed by MVRDV. Centrally located in the historic Binnenrotte Square next to Blaak Station, this mixed-use building comprises an arch of apartments that envelops a huge fresh food market below. Glazed on both ends, the market's arched shape and its colorful 'Horn of Plenty' digital ceiling art—one of the largest art pieces in the Netherlands—turns the market into an stunning public space and architectural icon.
Markthal will primarily serve as a daily fresh food market and as a community hub that links the various surrounding neighborhoods. Its development, however, is part of a long-term city plan to bring more mixed-use living space to the center of post-industrial Rotterdam. A symbol of modern and sustainable living, the building received a BREEAM Very Good certificate for its energy-efficient design, use of natural ventilation, and integration of water-saving systems. The Markthal is also easily accessible by all forms of transit, from mass transport to bicycling.
To avoid the dark and introverted character that many enclosed market halls fall prey to, MVRDV glazed both ends of Markthal with large cable net facades–the largest of its kind in Europe. This impressive feat of engineering brings in copious amounts of natural light and offers generous views of the gigantic ‘Horn of Plenty’ art piece, a five layered photographic 3D illusion of fresh foods.
Markthal’s outer horseshoe-shaped arch comprises 228 apartments clad in a gray natural stone exterior. Delivery and distribution activity for the market is kept underground on the basement level so as to avoid disturbing residents. The Markthal also includes underground parking, a grocery store, retail and restaurants.
Images via MVRDV, © Ossip van Duivenbode