A New Perspective in Rotterdam

John Hill, Katinka Corts
1. June 2022
Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, 2022 (Photo © Ossip van Duivenbode)

The Rotterdam Rooftop Walk is a temporary installation designed by MVRDV for Rotterdam Rooftop Days, giving visitors a different experience of the city from an "orange carpet" at a height of 30 meters.

As MVRDV partner-in-charge Winy Maas told German-Architects in January, he believes that better and more intensive use of rooftop spaces in large cities is essential. Not only could their immense surfaces be put to better use in terms of energy, but the little-used "fifth facades" should also be green, recreational spaces wherever possible. With Rotterdamse Dakendagen, "an independent, idealistic foundation that wants to stimulate the use of rooftops," MVRDV last year produced a catalog with more than 130 suggestions for the better use of flat roofs. Some of these roofs can now be seen from a new perspective and in some cases walked on during Rotterdam Roof Days.
 

Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, 2022 (Photo © Ossip van Duivenbode)
Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, 2022 (Photo © Ossip van Duivenbode)

The temporary roof installation, executed by Dutch company Steigers, merely connects two neighboring buildings, but walking along the bright orange path between the Beurs-World Trade Center and De Bijenkorf department store is probably an experience nonetheless. The 600-meter-long route also features small displays about how these and other roofs could look in the future and contribute to a more sustainable and livable city — as water storage and as open space for plants, but also for the production of food and the generation of energy. Also to be found here are visions of new village structures in the city and a draft of how the roof of De Bijenkorf department store could be redesigned and greened.
 

Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, 2022 (Photo © Ossip van Duivenbode)
Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, 2022 (Photo © Ossip van Duivenbode)

Back in 2016, MVRDV designed the Stairs to Kriterion, a temporary installation at Rotterdam's Central Station, with scaffolded stairs reaching the rooftop of the former Kriterion cinema as part of the month-long festival Rotterdam celebrates the city! Hundreds of thousands of visitors came, so the idea was born to continue the project. "During the Eurovision Song Contest, they wanted to build a high stage in honor of the winner, but that was canceled because of the pandemic," Winy Maas explained to Cornelia Ganitta. "We should not only occupy and green our rooftops, but also connect them, so we can offer Rotterdam a new rooftop park! For that, the orange carpet and the bridging of the Coolsingel are a nice first test run."
 

Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, 2022 (Photo © Ossip van Duivenbode)
Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, 2022 (Photo © Ossip van Duivenbode)

The team also has another installation, currently on the roof of Het Nieuwe Instituut: The Podium, 29 meters above the ground and reached by a staircase with 143 steps, is open to the public free of charge from June 1 to August 17. Downstairs is MVRDVHNI: The Living Archive of a Studio, an exhibition highlighting more than 400 projects from MVRDV's archive, and right next door is the art depot of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which MVRDV designed and whose mirror-clad facade offers even more new perspectives for visitors to Rotterdam in 2022.
 

A version of this article originally appeared as "Neue Perspektive in Rotterdam" on German-Architects.

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