It’s hard to say what’s the most remarkable aspect of Rotterdam’s new Markthal. (or Market Hall in English). Maybe it’s the building’s peculiar shape, an elongated horseshoe of a structure with its open cavity housing a fresh food market. Or perhaps it’s the 36,000 square foot mural that wraps the ceiling of the cavity, with its trippy, colourful depiction of fruits, vegetables and all manner of market goods. Or it could be the fact that the walls of this logic-defying structure are, in actuality, people’s residences.
All together, what you have is Rotterdam’s most important new city landmark and a building that is garnering much international attention.
Recent public health laws in the Netherlands now require that open-air food markets be housed in covered areas to accommodate new hygiene constraints. In response to this updated directive, the City of Rotterdam launched a design competition for what would become the country’s first indoor market. Adding to the complicated requirements of the Markthal project was the need to also accommodate residential units as well as parking space for 1,200 vehicles.
The winning design by Rotterdam-based architecture firm MVRDV was envisioned as an evolution of the typical approach to market architecture. Where the usual scheme would have seen separate buildings for each function, MVRDV’s design combines all of the project requirements into one integrated horseshoe-shaped structure, with the walls containing the residential units, and parking and loading housed below ground.
Adding to the whimsical nature of the building is the eye-popping mural by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam, which wraps the curving interior walls of the hall and transforms the building’s underside into an inviting public space. The new Markthal has become a catalyst for revitalization of Rotterdam’s historic Laurenskwartier district – and has quickly become a landmark for both locals and visitors from around the world.
Here in Toronto we’re in the midst of a new landmark for midtown to take shape with the Art Shoppe Lofts + Condos. Be part of the revitalization with us and register today for more information.