Architect : Koolhaas, Rem
Locality : Rotterdam
Country : Netherlands
Building style : Modern architecture (not specified)
Project on the map (green arrow)
The building is decked at the edge of an urban expressway that runs along the crest of a dyke. To the north, toward the museum park, the ground falls away steeply. Based on a square plan, three large exhibition halls and two galleries are stacked at the bottom of the slope, with a hall and a cafe between them.
The north-south access route cuts the complex into two unequal parts. The external and internal ramps along this axis cross an east-west road that passes under the building. This system of routes divides and at the same time links the various areas in such a way that the development becomes a complex, ingeniously constructed whole.
In contrast to this sophisticated spatial layout, the halls seem at first sight to be a collage made up of odds and ends from a builder’s yard. Every facade has a different appearance; and tinted glass of various colors heightens this effect. The mechanical services on the roof are enclosed with gratings in a seemingly makeshift manner.
Inside the hall, every conceivable type of translucent plastic is employed as cladding which reveals more than it hides. The fluorescent tubes seem to be installed at random and the flooring consists of simple metal gratings.
In the hall facing the park, the steel columns are camouflaged as tree trunks, and help to create a flowing transition between the internal space of the building and the garden.
“Walking around this art center, one becomes aware that it does not want to be a museum. The exhibits are not raised on pedestals; the art is on display at a tangible distance.” – Sabine Schneider
Thiel-Siling, Sabine (ed.): Icons of Architecture. The 20th Century. Prestel-Verlag, Munich, 2005. p. 166.
The striking modern building looks like a large, flat, square box, with a narrow tower or vertical accent. All sides are different. Precious, classic building materials like marble and parquet are combined with inexpensive materials like corrugated metal, bare concrete, steel gratings and rough timber.
http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunsthal_Rotterdam (June 17, 2011).
Ed. and transl. Heikki Nikkinen