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From MVRDV, A Disco Ball For Rotterdam’s Art Collection

The new Collection Building will make public the city’s extensive art collection, and give visitors a look at how museums work backstage.

Dutch firm MVRDV–the designers of Seoul’s skygarden, a tennis club shaped like a comfy couch, and 676 Lego skyscrapers–have just unveiled a new addition to their unorthodox architecture portfolio: a Rotterdam arts building that looks like a giant disco ball cut in half and converted into a terrarium.

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The design is for the Collectiegebouw–or Collection Building–a proposed public art depot for Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam’s Museumpark. At 14,000 square meters, the project is more than just the depot, also encompassing the grounds of an attached public sculpture park. But the glittering, reflective depot is definitely the focus of the project: it will not only put the City of Rotterdam’s extensive art collection on display, but also reveal to the public a lot of the backstage activity that happens at museums, such as restoration, transport, and storage of art.

“It is fantastic that the public art depot will be realized,” says Winy Maas, principal architect and co-founder of MVRDV. “In this way the entire population can share something that is normally hidden behind closed doors.”

Behind its reflective facade, which has been designed to help the building blend into the park surroundings, the Collection Building will be laid out like a dome. From the entrance, visitors will walk through a spiraling path, touring the building’s collections and observing behind-the-scenes museum processes through glass, until they reach the roof: a stunning, verdant garden. There, they can dine at a restaurant, have a coffee at the cafe, or even tour the Futuro house, a UFO-shaped, prefab pod from the ’60s that was recently restore and will apparently be moved to the site upon its completion.

“With Collectiegebouw Rotterdam creates an icon the entire city will benefit of,” says Rotterdam City Councillor Adriaan Visser. “The building will strengthen the cultural cluster around Museumpark and add to a lively inner city, this is important to attract and maintain the higher educated and investors.” It is due to be completed in 2018.