MVRDV - Key handover ceremony marks one step closer to completion for Portlantis

Key handover ceremony marks one step closer to completion for Portlantis


Today, the Port of Rotterdam officially received the keys to Portlantis from contractor Van der Ven. The symbolic ceremony marks the technical completion of the building and was attended by press as well as 20 fans of the port who won tickets for the event through a competition. The next stage for the project will involve the completion of the interiors and the installation of the Kossmanndejong-designed exhibition before the building opens in the Spring of 2025.

Portlantis is an exhibition space and visitor centre for the Port of Rotterdam. Located at the port’s western-most point, on the artificially reclaimed sands of the Maasvlakte 2, the twisting five-storey stack of spaces will give spectacular views while educating visitors about the port’s function and evolution during one of its most important transitions – the shift to sustainable, low-energy operations.

Image © MVRDV / Daan Ton

The building takes a practical, no-nonsense approach to its task, channelling the spirit of the port with its simple functionality and dramatic presence. The five levels each have a square floorplan and a large panoramic window that is turned to face a carefully selected view – either a key view related to the exhibition theme on that floor, or in the case of the ground-floor café and fourth-floor restaurant, to the dunes or the North Sea respectively. On the outside of the building, staircases twist their way up the stack, allowing visitors to take in the view from the rooftop terrace for free.

"This building is not a closed box, like the many distribution and data centres you can see in its surroundings. Instead, it is a block broken up into five layers. This creates terraces on each floor, accessible by external staircases", says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. "The building engages with its environment, opening up the boxes with panoramic windows. The floors will have different themes that will reflect on the past, present, and future of the Port of Rotterdam. The design of the building anticipates a possible future where we make better use of space by stacking and densifying, instead of filling the Netherlands with more anonymous boxes."

Image © Port of Rotterdam

The building’s materials are simple and industrial, seeking to be sustainable by following circular economy principles. The structure is demountable so that its parts can easily be reused, and the façade panels will be returned at the end of the building’s lifespan under an agreement made with the manufacturer. Even the building’s foundation, which avoids the use of concrete piles, is designed to leave no trace.

The key handover took place between Mark van Heezik, the project manager at Van der Ven, and Port of Rotterdam contract manager André Riethoff. The ceremony was also attended by MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas, Herman Kossmann of Kossmanndejong, and the initiators of the Portlantis concept Eileen Niks and Piet-Harm Sterk.

Find out more about the design of Portlantis here.