A rendezvous with a view: The Podium by MVRDV




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Just a few short days after Rotterdam’s Rooftop Walk opened its doors to the public comes another installation from MVRDV intended to make a very special rooftop in the Dutch city accessible to all, namely that of the Het Nieuwe Instituut, a cultural centre with a focus on architecture, design and digital culture. The vibrant hot pink podium forms the heart of Rotterdam Architecture Month - this June - and will later be used as an event location until the end of August.

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A rendezvous with a view: The Podium by MVRDV
Adversity is often the mother of the most innovative ideas. This was very much the case with the latest installation by MVRDV in Rotterdam: The Podium. Due to the renovation of the public space outside the Het Nieuwe Instituut - the national museum of architecture, design and digital culture in the Museumpark, with Kunsthal Rotterdam and Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen as its neighbours - the main entrance to the museum is currently less visible and accessible to visitors. However, as the top floor of the building designed by Jo Coenen in 1993 is currently hosting an exhibition entitled “MVRDVHNI: The Living Archive of a Studio”, which features more than 400 projects from MVRDV’s archive with in-depth insights into the working methods used by the renowned firm, complete with drawings, sketches, models and other archive materials, the MVRDV design team had the bright idea of creating an alternative access route by means of a vast outdoor staircase.
They dubbed their creation The Podium: a 29-metre-high platform that provides direct access to the roof of the museum thanks to a 143-step external staircase. Daubed in pink to increase its visibility, MVRDV’s striking new project offers a creative temporary meeting place spanning 600m2.
For their installation, the designers drew inspiration from the panoramic view from the roof of the Het Nieuwe Instituut and the design of the building itself - created in 1993 by Jo Coenen - with its distinctive pergola. An architectural gesture that is not without precedent at MVRDV, where examples of activated rooftops abound. From their first project in 2006, dubbed Didden Village - the extension of a private home into the roof level in a vibrant shade of blue - to 2016’s Stairs to Kriterion, which made the roof of the chamber of commerce next to the Central Station accessible, all the way to just a few days ago, with the enhancement of the rooftops in the centre with the orange Rooftop Walk (link) and now The Podium, in all its bright pink glory. Gijs Rikken, Associate Design Director at MVRDV, said of the project: “We want to bring more attention to this second layer of the city with colour and special installations: if we make it greener, more sustainable, and more connected, the city will become more liveable for everyone”.
In order to create The Podium as sustainably as possible, just like Rooftop Walk, the designers opted for recyclable scaffolding and flooring materials. The Podium is accessible via the external staircase as well as through the exhibition on the floor below it. For visitors who are unable to use the stairs, lift access has also been provided.
In June, the platform - which offers a spectacular view over the various architectural landmarks of the city, not least the nearby Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, just one of countless Rotterdam icons created by MVRDV - is the beating heart of Rotterdam Architecture Month. This means that when visitors attend the various events hosted on the podium, they can also enjoy a truly breathtaking visual connection with the city. Access to the so-called ‘heart of the festival’ is free in June, whilst over the following months, tickets will be priced at 3 Euros. Visiting The Podium requires booking a timeslot in advance on the HNI website.
Over the course of July and August, various partners will organise activities on The Podium, including Motel Mozaïque, the NN North Sea Jazz Festival, Operator, Roffa Mon Amour and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: MVRDV
Location: Rotterdam
Year: 2022
Images: Ossip van Duivenbode
For tickets: https://tickets.hetnieuweinstituut.nl/hni/en/flow_configs/webshop-podium/steps/kies-uw-kaartjes/z_event/11969
Special thanks to COD, Dura Vermeer, Dutch Steigers, Fonds 21, Comune di Rotterdam, Jewellabs, Job Dura Fonds, Mol Lifting, Motel Mozaïque, MVRDV, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Rotterdam Architecture Month, Rotterdam Festivals, Rotterdam Partners, Senz, Stichting Verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot, Stichting Volkskracht, Friends Lottery and VSBfonds.


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