Cover Designed by MVRDV, The Podium sits atop the Het Nieuwe Instituut

Dutch architectural firm MVRDV adds a colourful pink rooftop installation to the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands

The vibrant and dynamic city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is now brighter than ever with this new installation: a hot pink rooftop stage found above the Het Nieuwe Instituut (HNI), the Dutch national institute for architecture, design, and culture. Named The Podium, the eye-catching 600 sqm temporary installation is accessible to the public from June to August. 

Designed by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV, the fuchsia pink elevated roof platform is accessible from the ground plaza via a 143-step external staircase of the same colour. 

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At a height of 29m, The Podium offers a panoramic perspective over various iconic spots in Rotterdam, including the Museumpark as well as the art storage building Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen that’s also designed by MVRDV.

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The Podium is designed with sustainable materials, with a scaffolding ​​structure and floor finishes that can later be recycled. Inspired by the HNI’s original building design by Dutch architect Jo Coenen, the design team wanted to create a space that offers a breathtaking scenic vista of the city and its workings.

“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,” the firm notes.  

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The temporary architectural installation is designed in collaboration with Rotterdam Architecture Month, the city’s month-long architectural festival that occurs annually in June. Throughout the month, The Podium will be the heart of the festival, where lectures, tours, films, and other activities focused on architecture will take place.

In July and August, the space is intended to be open for other activities, including a jazz concert, a yoga class, and a summer programme for children.

The colourful installation is not MVRDV’s only rooftop installation in Rotterdam. The firm has also concurrently designed the Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, a 30-metre-high bright orange temporary rooftop walkway. Compared to its pink counterpart, the Rotterdam Rooftop Walk is 600-metre-long and spans the rooflines of various adjacent buildings, allowing visitors to venture across the city’s rooftops. 

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Starting from a series of terraces to the rooftop of the World Trade Centre plinth in Rotterdam, the orange route ends on the roof of the Bijenkorf department store, where an exhibition with various displays awaits visitors.

The project is intended to demonstrate how roofs can contribute as a potential solution to the scarcity of space in cities. “Rooftop programming can help with major issues such as climate change, the housing crisis, and the transition to renewable energy,” notes MVRDV, in a statement. “[The installation] aims to give the public a new perspective on the city: the extensive programming should increase visitors’ awareness of the potential of roofs, which can become a ‘second layer’ that makes the city more liveable, biodiverse, sustainable, and healthy.”

The Rotterdam Rooftop Walk is also part of the Rotterdam Architecture Month, as well as the Rotterdam Rooftop Festival, a three-day event where visitors can discover rooftops throughout the city with events that are centred around music, food and drinks. 

Unlike The Podium, the Rotterdam Rooftop Walk will only open for a month, and is currently set to conclude on June 24.

  • PhotographyOssip van Duivenbode
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