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Rotterdam reinvents the urban food market


Every now and then a piece of architecture comes along that makes you feel like your city should be more beautiful – or at least very least: bolder. In this case, it’s the new Market Hall in Rotterdam, which has been making the rounds on the internet since it opened last week. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I find it really exciting.

Designed by Dutch architecture firm MVRDV, the Market Hall is a 1.1 million square foot mixed-use building consisting of residences (102 rental apartments and 126 for sale apartments), a food market, a supermarket, a public space, and a 1,200 stall parking facility. But before I say anymore, here’s the money shot:


And here’s what it looks like from the inside of the market:


In the middle of the building is the food market. At night when it closes up, it then becomes a well-lit public space. The entire central area is enclosed, but well connected visually to the outside through a big and fancy glass facade.

The apartments wrap the central market and were constructed using standardized modules (despite the unique form). The spaces that require natural light face outward and all the spaces that do not require natural light (by Dutch law), such as the kitchens, face inward towards the market. 

There’s a grocery store 1 level below grade (to help supplement the market) and all parking and loading is done underground. This means that the building itself has no real backside. Most buildings typically have an ugly loading and “back of house” area – the building’s ass if you will. In this case, the entire perimeter of the building is urban and accessible.

Finally, on the ceiling of the market is a massive mega-mural designed by Dutch artists Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam. Click here for a 360 degree panorama. It’s wild. 

So what do you think of this building? Would you like to have it in your city? And would you consider living in one of its apartments? I would.

Images: MVRDV

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