Looking like a massive mirrored mixing bowl with salad sticking out of the top, MVRDV’s Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen has finally been completed in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The eye-catching project is hailed as the world’s first publicly-accessible art depot by the firm and will host 151,000 art pieces.
Though construction is complete, Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is not yet open to the public as the works of art still need to be carefully moved in. The building reaches a maximum height of 39.5 m (roughly 130 ft) and is topped by a publicly-accessible rooftop park with 75 trees and a restaurant that can be reached directly by elevator from the ground floor. Its exterior comprises 1,664 mirrored panels and the building measures 15,000 sq m (roughly 161,500 sq ft).
“With this construction completion, now the museum and the users can start to inhabit the building and fill its spaces with priceless art,” says Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “Although it will take another year before the real opening, the completion is a special moment for all: the museum, the city of Rotterdam, Stichting De Verre Bergen and of course for the contractor BAM, the many construction workers and subcontractors who persisted during the difficult circumstances we all faced due to the pandemic. The depot design is daring, and its success comes from the direct dialogue with all parties involved – from the person calculating the exact curvature of the mirroring panels and the construction worker who put up the glass vitrines to the company that co-designed our rooftop forest.”
In the depot, artworks will be stored and exhibited according to their climatic requirements, instead of art movement, style or era as one might expect. Each storage space is climate-controlled and organized into five different zones, arranged according to works of art produced with different materials: metal, plastic, organic/inorganic, and photography.
Visitors will enter into an atrium area with crisscrossing staircases and a suspended glass display of specially selected works. This will lead to exhibition rooms and curators’ studios, and members of the public will even be able to take a glimpse of experts busily restoring and preserving works, which is usually performed behind closed doors.
Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is due to open to the public in late 2021. The project is the latest in a long line of daring architectural designs by MVRDV, with highlights including the Tianjin Binhai Library and Markthal mixed-use market.