The people of Rotterdam have selected the Depot as their new favourite building: the public vote of the Rotterdam Architecture Prize 2022 goes to The Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. A jury, led by professor of architectural theory Lara Schrijver of Antwerp University, shortlisted 10 projects from 36 submissions, from which members of the public could select their favourite and submit a vote. Alderwoman Chantal Zeegers of Rotterdam presented the award to Associate Arjen Ketting, Partner Fokke Moerel of MVRDV and representatives of the municipality and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. “It's a huge attraction for Rotterdam, I know from friends, everyone is enthusiastic. Because of the reflection it does a lot for the city, it really is a selfie icon,” said Zeegers.
Since 2020, award nominations have been piling up, even before the Depot’s completion. In 2020, the Rooftop Forest received a Rooftop Award, in 2021 it won the Glass Award, was named Public Building of the Year 2021 by Architectenweb, and won the ARC21. In 2022, the Depot won A BNA Award (category stimulating environments) and the popular choice award of the Architizer A+ Award. It was also a finalist at the 2022 MIPIM Awards (category best cultural & sports infrastructure).
For the design of The Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the assignment was to offer a glimpse behind the scenes of the museum world and make the whole art collection accessible to the public. Currently, many international museums can only put six to seven per cent of their collections on public display in exhibitions. The remaining 94 percent lies in storage. Thus, the depot breaks with this tradition of concealment: the design makes visible all of these previously invisible artefacts in a unique, iconic, and reflective building.
The challenge was to create a building with minimal impact on the Museumpark so it became a building ‘in the round’. The form of the 39,5-metre-high Depot is ovoid. Its bowl-like shape means that the ground-level footprint is small – maintaining views into routes through the Museumpark – while the roof is as expansive as possible. The crisscrossing internal staircases that lead visitors to exhibition rooms and curators’ studios also lead to the rooftop, and the atrium has 13 glass display vitrines that feature a "lightly curated", constantly evolving selection of the Depot's many treasures.
One of the building’s most striking features is its reflective façade, comprising some 6,609 square metres of glass subdivided into 1,664 mirrored panels. The mirroring panels ensure the integration of the design with its surroundings, by reflecting and thus honouring the Museumpark’s activities and natural landscape features.
Depot Boijmans Van Beunigen is a collaboration between Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Municipality of Rotterdam, and the De Verre Bergen Foundation. MVRDV designed the depot, whileBAM Bouw en Techniek managed its construction.