MVRDV - Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen wins ARC21 Award

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen wins ARC21 Award


The Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is the winner of the ARC21 Awards, hosted by Dutch architecture magazine de Architect. The award was presented to MVRDV partner Fokke Moerel and associate Arjen Ketting at a ceremony in Rotterdam on November 18th. The ARC21 award marks the second national Dutch architecture prize received by the depot since it opened on November 6th, following its selection as the Public Building of the Year in the Architectenweb Awards on November 10th.

In their comments about the winning building, the jury of Michiel Riedijk (Neutelings Riedijk Architects, jury chairman), Nina Aalbers (ArchitectuurMaken), Setareh Noorani (Het Nieuwe Instituut), Phlip Boswinkel (Local) and Marieke Giele (de Architect, jury secretary) stated:

“This project by MVRDV is part of a longer discourse within the museum world, in which museums have to reinvent themselves. Opening up a depot, where visitors can experience the artefacts in the natural storage, responds directly to this. Together with the roof landscape and the curved facade that reflects the skyline of Rotterdam, a real attraction is created, a new public destination in the city.

“This building manages to conceptualise, in the most eminent way, the relationship between city and architecture, between public and viewer, and between content and form. The building holds up a mirror to the city, and behind this mirror protects and unlocks art from the past and present.

“This building brings both the disciplines of architecture and art closer to the people and also gives a street-level experience and a publicly accessible roof back to the residents and visitors of the city. As a result, the building will also have an important impact outside the established architectural circles.”

MVRDV's Arjen Ketting (left) and Fokke Moerel (centre) receiving the ARC21 Award from jury chairman Michiel Riedijk. Image © Cynthia van Dijke


The depot, which was officially opened last Friday by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, is the world's first publicly accessible art storage facility. It holds the entire collection of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, some 151,000 works of art and design, making the entire collection accessible to visitors. The depot’s round, bowl-like shape means that the building doesn’t turn its back on any of its neighbours in the Museumpark, packing a large internal space into a form that takes up less park space. On its roof, the depot replaces the park space it occupies with an even larger public space: a rooftop forest of 75 birch trees, grasses, and 20 pines, with a restaurant in the rooftop pavilion at the centre.

Image © Ossip van Duivenbode


Inside, the most eye-catching part of the building is the atrium, with its criss-crossing staircases and windows into the storage spaces that give the impression of a panopticon, with a view of the art from all sides. Thirteen large glass display cases, designed by artist Marieke Van Diemen, ensure that the visitor comes into contact with a collage of collection pieces as soon as they enter the building.

Read more about the award and the selection of the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen on the website of de Architect. You can also see more of the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen here.

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is a collaboration between Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the municipality of Rotterdam and the De Verre Bergen Foundation. The depot was designed by MVRDV and built by BAM Bouw en Techniek.