MVRDV’s enormous arched food hall and housing complex opens in Rotterdam

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Markthal Rotterdam. (Courtesy facebook.com/MarkthalRotterdam)

Markthal Rotterdam. (Courtesy facebook.com/MarkthalRotterdam)

When the plan for Markthal Rotterdam first appeared, it seemed like one of those interesting, but never going to actually happen type of projects. There was no way that MVRDV’s sprawling food hall set underneath a 130-foot-tall arching roof that itself contains 228 apartments would ever be realized. Well, it turns out there was a way, and Rotterdam figured it out.

Markthal Rotterdam. (Courtesy facebook.com/MarkthalRotterdam)

Markthal Rotterdam. (Courtesy facebook.com/MarkthalRotterdam)

This week, the Netherland’s Queen Máxima opened the market, which is expected to attract between 4.5 and 7 million visitors every year. The interior space is defined by a nearly 12,000-square-foot mural called “Cornucopia” that, as you may have guessed, shows produce and the like. “In order to achieve the required sharpness, the image was rendered by Pixar software,” explained Rotterdam Partners in a statement. “It was printed onto perforated aluminum panels, then attached to acoustic panels for noise control. The print resolution of the art work is comparable to a glossy magazine.”

That mural is bookended by massive, arching-glazed cable net facades that create the effect of transparency throughout the structure. To contrast with the market’s colorful interior, MVRDV used grey natural stone to clad the structure and define the surrounding public space.

Markthal Rotterdam. (Courtesy facebook.com/MarkthalRotterdam)

Markthal Rotterdam. (Courtesy facebook.com/MarkthalRotterdam)

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