In photos: Inside Rotterdam's Markthal

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
Winston Churchill

Before you look at these photos, go to this website. Look at the first photo you see, then come back to this post.

That building is REAL. And I got to have a look inside it before it officially opens on 1st October 2014, meaning if you're reading this after that date, you too can go and look inside, and also eat some fine foods too.

Now here are a few facts about the building:

  • It took five years to build, though the original project began back in 2004.
  • It was designed by Rotterdam architect firm MVRDV.
  • The arch reaches up to 40 mertres in the air.
  • The two huge glass walls at either end are constructed using a suspended steel frame that acts like the wires of a tennis racket, thus allowing the glass to absorb the force from gusts of wind. In fact, the glass windows will move as much as 70 centimetres in strong wind.
  • It is not just a market hall but also a complex of 228 apartments. The grey squares you see in the walls and in the ceiling are windows into apartments.
  • Half of the apartments look down onto the market though I was assured that noise had been considered. On one side of the building apartments look out onto the St Lawrence church behind over an area that the Project Manager from MVRDV told me was going to undergo quite a transformation in the next few years.
  • The windows in the very top of the ceiling are also windows into apartments, they are just windows in the floor of the penthouses which people can stand on, if they feel brave enough!
  • The artwork that wraps itself around the ceiling and walls is considered to be the largest work of art in the world.
  • The artwork - by local artist Arno Coenen, who won a competition to have his art on display in the market hall - began life as a digital file in a much smaller format. Enlarging this to cover the market hall without comprising the crispness and quality meant that the tiles had to be printed by the animation studio Pixar's digital rendering factory all the way in New Zealand.
  • There will be 100 market stalls and shops.
  • It will be open 7 days a week.
  • Once the market hall is open there will eventually be the possibility to go on tours of the building which I was very pleased to hear as I think many will find this building fascinating.
  • I can't wait to go back when there's food to eat there!

You can find more information about the Markthal here

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
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