The Dutch city of Rotterdam has been a benchmark for contemporary architecture in Europe and the world for decades. Structures as surprising as the unique Casa Cubo were created there a long time ago, and to this day it continues to attract attention with its new projects. The last to open, in 2021, has been the Depot.
A construction that is already striking even for its use, since it is not a modern museum in which an architect gives free rein to his imagination, a type of architecture in which there are countless references from the Guggenheim in New York that created Frank Lloyd Wright to the Guggenheim in Bilbao designed by Frank Ghery. However, the Depot in Rotterdam is not a museum, but a warehouse for works of art from another museum, the Boijmans Van Beuningen.
So it seems unbelievable that this huge curved building with its entire façade covered in mirrors is just a warehouse, hence its name. The fact is that the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be closed for several years due to major renovations. And therefore the collections had to be stored somewhere, and there was no adequate space. So they commissioned the architect Winy Maas to build one. But yes, that it could serve as a warehouse and at the same time be visitablefor the public.
And such a novel design was chosen. In fact, from the outside the entire building looks like a large glass bowl. Inside there are 6 floors in which there are deposits for works of art, but also spaces for their restoration and care. In addition to others of its public function, that is, there are rooms for presentations or projections.
On the outside it is impressive, due to its more than 1,600 glass-mirror plates, which manage to integrate perfectly into the urban landscape as they reflect it in a spectacular way. But it is almost more striking to enter its interior, walk its stairs, its rooms, the combs for works of art, and discover what is often hidden in a museum, all the conservation, study and restoration work that is carried out on them.
And if that weren't enough, when you reach the top of the building, you reach a roof where trees grow and all the ground is natural. A floor that filters the usual rain of the Netherlands and serves to supply running water to the building, for example in its toilets. A very careful gardening project, since these trees were previously worked on in a nursery for several years, in order to intertwine all their roots, to eliminate problems for the building and guarantee the resistance of each specimen in these conditions of height and depth of floor.