Last night, the Dutch Design Awards announced the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen as the winner of their Habitat award category. Presented in a ceremony at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the Dutch Design Awards honours the year’s best design work in eight different categories, from Product design to Fashion and Communication to Data & Interaction design. The Habitat category awards the design of public or private spaces, thus serving as an umbrella award for architecture, landscape, and related design categories.
In awarding the depot, the jury stated: “Something fantastic has been created here; a place that literally and figuratively gives something back to the city. The design questions what we want from museum collections and allows the public to experience art in a new way. Together with Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, MVRDV has designed an iconic building and a new typology of what a depot can be. Dealing with the collection as a whole becomes an experience, which affects not only the building but also the programming. Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen opens up a completely different spectrum of ways to present art and taps into layers that would normally remain invisible, such as insight into the art of conservation.”
The depot, the world’s first fully accessible art storage facility, is located at Museumpark in the centre of Rotterdam. It offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the museum world, making the whole art collection accessible to the public. Hosting exhibition halls, a rooftop garden, and a restaurant, in addition to an enormous amount of storage space for art and design, the reflective round volume responds to its surroundings. Its bowl-like shape means that the ground-level footprint is small – maintaining views into and routes through the Museumpark – while the roof is as expansive as possible, hosting a rooftop forest of 75 multi-stemmed birch trees alongside fir trees and grasses.
In addition to the 151,000 works of art and design that the depot makes accessible to the public, MVRDV designed the Depot as a canvas for other artists. The entrance lobby was designed by local artist John Körmeling, while Marieke van Diemen designed the 13 gigantic display cases suspended in the atrium that host a lightly curated selection of works, surrounding the visitor with artworks above, below, and on all sides. The interior design of the rooftop restaurant is a design of Concrete, and Pipilotti Rist has designed a light installation for the square outside that at night is reflected in the depot’s mirrored façade.
The Dutch Design Awards are just the latest recognition for the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. It was voted as a popular choice winner in both the Architizer A+ Awards and the Rotterdam Architecture Prize, and has also been selected by juries in the “stimulating environments” category of the BNA’s Building of the Year awards, de Architect’s ARC21 Award, and Architectenweb’s Best Public Building of the Year award.
As part of the awards programme, the depot is currently exhibited at Dutch Design Week alongside the 23 other nominees across all categories, presented with photographs, text, and a specially made model that “peels back” the building’s various layers to show its interior workings. Until the closing day of the exhibition on October 30th, visitors to the exhibition can place their vote for the best of all the awards; the project that receives the most votes will subsequently be awarded the Public Award from the Dutch Design Awards.
See more of the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen's design here.