Dutch firm MVRDV has won a competition to design a new public/private art depot for the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. While the design has been selected, the fate of the project remains in the balance. City council officials have until the end of the year to decide whether or not to go ahead with construction.
The winning design (top) resembles a large shiny flowerpot, a cylindrical glass volume that tapers at the bottom and is capped by a sculpture-park. The curved facade’s distortion of the surrounding landscape recalls the way Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate engages its own Chicago context.
The need for the project stems from problems with the museum’s current depot, which is situated below sea-level and thus at risk of flooding. Beyond elevating the stored artworks to safety, the new design is also an opportunity to make some of them available for public view. A route will zig-zag through the various floors to offer glimpses of the depot for those visiting the space. The path culminates in the rooftop park which also would feature a restaurant.
MVRDV beat out other finalists MAD/Nio, Neutelings Riedijk, Koen van Velzen and Harry Gugger with Barcode Architects, though not without controversy. At one point the firm was disqualified due to what was deemed a breach of the tender procedure. They were later reinstated after winning their case in the court of justice of Rotterdam.