The Market Hall is a sustainable combination of food, leisure, living and parking, fully integrated to celebrate and enhance the synergetic possibilities of the different functions. A secure, covered square emerges beneath an arc, conceived as an inversion of a typical market square and its surrounding buildings. During the day it serves as central market hall, after hours the hall becomes an enormous, covered, well lit public space.
New laws in the Netherlands require covered areas for traditional open air meat and fish markets due to new hygien constraints. MVRDV posed two questions in response to these challenges: 'Can we use this operation to evolve the market typology as well as densify the the city centre?' and 'Can we increase quality as well as density of programming at Blaak?'
The Market Hall is part of the new inner city heart of the Laurens Quarter, the original pre-war centre of Rotterdam. The building is a sustainable combination of food, leisure, living and parking, all fully integrated to enhance and make the most of the synergetic possibilities of the different functions. The hall is formed from an arch of privately developed apartments, strategically allowing private investment and iniative to provide a public space. The result is a covered square which acts as a central market hall during the day and, after closing hours remains lively due to restaurants on its first floor.
The apartments follow strict Dutch laws regarding natural day-light: all rooms that require natural light are situated on the outside. Kitchens, dining rooms and storage are positioned at the market side, establishing a connection to the market. The front and backside are covered with a flexible suspended glass façade, allowing for maximum transparency and a minimum of structure, which will be the largest of its kind in Europe.