MVRDV designs The Podium for Het Nieuwe Instituut for Rotterdam Architecture Month

MVRDV will install The Podium, a bright pink stage accessed by 143 steps atop the Het Nieuwe Instituut, aiming to educate the public about the potential of rooftops in urban design.

by Jincy IypePublished on : Mar 04, 2022

The Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Dutch national institute for architecture, design and digital culture in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, will acquire a eye-catching temporary installation extending from the ground plaza to an imposing external staircase of 143 steps that lead to a rooftop stage for 11 weeks this summer. Designed by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV, The Podium, at a height of 29 metres, will be a vision in bright, fuchsia pink, forming the heart of the annual Rotterdam Architecture Month Festival this year, accessible to the public from June 1 – August 17, 2022.

The Podium is currently under construction to be unveiled for the Rotterdam Architecture Month (June 1 – August 17, 2022) | The Podium by MVRDV | STIRworld
The Podium is currently under construction to be unveiled for the Rotterdam Architecture Month (June 1 – August 17, 2022) Image: Courtesy of MVRDV

Het Nieuwe Instituut commissioned MVRDV to create the 600 sqm event space, which will be programmed by a variety of Rotterdam institutions and creatives, large enough to host a plethora of events and meetings. “Enabling the use of a rooftop that has never before been accessible to the public, The Podium offers a unique opportunity to experience architecture, the city, the Museumpark and Het Nieuwe Instituut from a completely new perspective,” relays the Dutch firm. The roofs of Rotterdam carry enormous potential, especially those of the Het Nieuwe Instituut, owing to its panoramic view from its distinctive pergola of the city, the Museumpark, and of the MVRDV-designed Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen that sits right next to it in all its shining glory. The institute designed by Dutch architect Jo Coenen inspired the team to create The Podium at that height, to reel in breathtaking views of the city and its workings.

The Podium can be accessed by a bright pink external staircase that leads to a massive rooftop viewing platform atop the Het Nieuwe Instituut | The Podium by MVRDV | STIRworld
The Podium can be accessed by a bright pink external staircase that leads to a massive rooftop viewing platform atop the Het Nieuwe Instituut Image: Courtesy of MVRDV

The Podium, in its essence, represents the ambition of Het Nieuwe Instituut (HNI) to amplify public knowledge about architecture and urban design. It is also a built demonstrative of MVRDV’s agenda to make better use of the city’s rooftops, “an important approach to densifying the city that will allow it to develop sustainably by preventing urban sprawl while creating opportunities to add greenery, water management, and much-needed building functions,” mentions MVRDV.

Throughout the Rotterdam Architecture Month (June 1-30, 2022), The Podium with its bright pink rooftop viewing platform, will essay the heart of the festival by hosting lectures, tours, films, and other activities focused on architecture. Consequently, the main exhibition of the festival will also be housed in one of the galleries of Het Nieuwe Instituut. Another part of the festival’s versatile programming is The World Around: a leading conference in the field of contemporary architecture and design. Together with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Het Nieuwe Instituut will host this international event and a conference will be organised on the Podium and in the institute on June 11, 2022.

The Podium (R) sits adjacent to MVRDV-designed art storage building Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen (L) in Rotterdam | The Podium by MVRDV | STIRworld
The Podium (R) sits adjacent to MVRDV-designed art storage building Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen (L) in Rotterdam Image: Courtesy of MVRDV

Not only essaying a significantly cultural and architectural character, the striking architectural installation will open itself up to a variety of activities and sectors, from sports lessons to rooftop dinners and special children’s activities through the months of July and August. “More information about the precise programming and the other collaboration partners will be announced at a later date,” states the Het Nieuwe Instituut. “Through The Podium, Het Nieuwe Instituut aims to shape a creative meeting place together with other institutions and makers – from and for everyone, and with the best view of the architecture that the city has to offer,” they add.

Championing sustainability, a structure of scaffolding with floor finishes that can later be recycled, was employed by MVRDV to create the special pavilion, and can be reached by the massive exterior pink staircase, and a temporary elevator. It can also be accessed via MVRDVHNI: The Living Archive of a Studio, a collaborative exhibition curated by MVRDV and HNI, interactively explaining the early works of MVRDV, currently on display on the institute’s sixth floor.

Schematic diagrams showing circulation routes and meeting spaces | The Podium by MVRDV | STIRworld
Schematic diagrams showing circulation routes and meeting spaces Image: Courtesy of MVRDV

Currently under construction, the special podium on the roof forms part of MVRDV’s established tradition in rooftop programming, ranging from the Rooftop Catalogue to the Stairs to Kriterion, the staircase to the roof of the Groothandelsgebouw that marked the celebration of 75 years of reconstruction, and attracted over 350,000 visitors in 2017.

Right before the drawing board project opens to the public, May 26 will witness the commencement of the Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, an initiative of the Rotterdam Rooftop Days with a design by MVRDV once again. “This installation will give free access for a month to a series of neighbouring roofs in the city centre that are normally closed to the public, allowing visitors to experience how making use of the rooftops can contribute to a better future for cities and city dwellers,” the design team notes.

Floorplans | The Podium by MVRDV | STIRworld
Floorplans Image: Courtesy of MVRDV

The Rooftop Walk also carries symbolic and educational objectives, with a simple intention of showing people the potential of rooftops, how they can contribute to a city’s urban fabric and uplift public spaces and amenities, and the need to make better use of them. “This fits in with Rotterdam’s ambition to give the large area of flat roofs in the city a function: public programming, water storage, energy production, or greenery. Sustainability is also an important factor for the Rotterdam Rooftop Walk; like The Podium, the material from the rooftop walk will be reused,” says MVRDV, founded in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries.

The Podium at Het Nieuwe Instituut is made possible in part by Dura Vermeer, Dutch Steigers, Fonds 21, the City of Rotterdam, MVRDV, Rotterdam Architecture Month, Rotterdam Festivals, Rotterdam Partners, Stichting Job Dura Fonds, Stichting Verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot, Stichting Volkskracht, and the VriendenLoterij. “The Podium offers a unique opportunity to experience architecture, the city, museumpark and the institute from a completely new perspective. For the very first time, the roof of the institute will be accessible to visitors,” concludes the Dutch institute.

Project Details

Name: The Podium
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Surface Area: 600 sqm
Client: Het Nieuwe Instituut
Architect: MVRDV
Founding partner in charge: Winy Maas
Design Team: Gijs Rikken, Michele Tavola
Visualisations: Antonio Luca Coco, Luana La Martina

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