FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam News, Netherlands Architecture, Dutch Cultural Centre Images

FENIX Museum of Migration in Rotterdam

Architectural Renovation Project in Holland design by MAD Architects

13 Nov 2020

FENIX Museum of Migration

Design: MAD Architects, China

Location: Rotterdam, Holland

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam by MAD Architects

FENIX Museum of Migration in Rotterdam

Photos by Rubén Dario Kleimeer

FENIX Museum of Migration: MAD’s First Cultural Project in Europe Breaks Ground

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam by MAD Architects

November 12th, 2020, Rotterdam, Netherlands – MAD Architects’ first cultural project in Europe, the FENIX Museum of Migration, has broken ground in Rotterdam. The project was commissioned by the Droom en Daad Foundation.

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam by MAD Architects

The president of the foundation Mr. Wim Pijbes is a leading historian and former general director of Amsterdam’s famous Rijksmuseum. Reflecting on the vision behind the FENIX Museum of Migration, Mr. Pijbes said, “What we want to show is that this is a universal story. People at some point of their lives make a decision, whether it’s forced by war, poverty, religious reasons or something else. They decide to put everything they have into one or two suitcases and to make this journey to a new world and start all over again. What we want to do is to understand the emotion and to show the emotion.”

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam by MAD Architects

Built in 1923, The Fenix warehouse was once the largest warehouse in the world. Its location on the Katendrecht Peninsula has been an important port of immigration in European history. Throughout the past century, the Fenix warehouse has been entwined with the history of Rotterdam, including destruction during World War II, and multiple repairs in the 1940s and 1950s.

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam by MAD Architects

Immigrants boarding a ship in Rotterdam around 1910. Since the 19th century, millions of immigrants have boarded ships on the Katendrecht Peninsula in Rotterdam. They sailed along the New Maas River towards the North Atlantic to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic. Collection Stadsarchief Rotterdam/Municipal Archives, Rotterdam.

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam by MAD Architects

MAD’s renovation of the Fenix warehouse connects the history of Rotterdam with the present. MAD’s founder Ma Yansong said, “From a distance, the platform and staircase look like a single entity, but when it’s in front of you, it stands as a sculptural work that invites you to explore. It both signifies the Fenix’s witnessing of Europe’s history of migration from the port, and symbolizes the future of the city.”

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam by MAD Architects

To preserve the building’s historical legacy, MAD’s renovation embraces the iconic green steel windows and the concrete structure of the Fenix warehouse. In the building’s center, the facade and roof are removed and replaced with glass curtain walls and ceilings, creating a flexible and accessible space. The extensive glazing also offers an uninterrupted frame for the scheme’s striking centerpiece staircase structure.

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam by MAD Architects

The new intervention sees two spiral staircases extend from the ground and form an observation deck at the top. Moving through the space with different rhythms, the staircases break down the massive scale of the original warehouse, adding more human-scale and intimate spaces. The stainless steel and wood materials used for the staircases contrast with the warehouse’s original concrete and steel materials, while also evoking the visitors’ imagination of boarding a ship.

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam by MAD Architects

FENIX Museum of Migration in Rotterdam under construction:
FENIX Museum of Migration in Rotterdam under construction

The FENIX Museum of Migration is also integrated into the surrounding community with a high degree of accessibility, with public entrances from both the riverside and the city. The ground floor combines creativity, culture, and culinary spaces to offer diverse activities, and to make art a part of people’s daily lives. After its completion, the museum will hold an exhibition on the theme of “movement,” with contemporary artworks and archives curated in collaboration with local and international art institutions.

FENIX Museum of Migration construction:
FENIX Museum of Migration in Rotterdam under construction

Mr. Pijbes added: “A museum is a phenomenon that has a very strict idea and image in most people’s minds. I want to find a word that has a kind of hybrid function, a place, a platform, an agora.”

FENIX Museum of Migration in Rotterdam construction:
FENIX Museum of Migration in Rotterdam under construction

With the completion of FENIX, the Katendrecht Peninsula will become a bridge connecting the north and south of Rotterdam, inspiring more people through the universal theme of “migration.”

construction progress:
FENIX Museum of Migration in Rotterdam under construction

Historical Photos & New Drawings

Immigrants boarding a ship in Rotterdam around 1910. About two million people made their way to Rotterdam harbor from 1880 to 1920 to begin a journey that would often end at Ellis Island in New York:
Immigrants boarding a ship in Rotterdam around 1910
photograph : Collection Stadsarchief Rotterdam/Municipal Archives, Rotterdam

A ship docked at the Fenix warehouse around 1925:
A ship docked at the Fenix warehouse around 1925
photograph : Collection Stadsarchief Rotterdam/Municipal Archives, Rotterdam

Since the 19th century, millions of immigrants have boarded ships on the Katendrecht Peninsula in Rotterdam. They sailed along the New Maas River towards the North Atlantic to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic:
Fenix warehouse Rotterdam site map

A detailed schematic diagram of the staircase section. The internal structure and height of the stairs fit the overall curved surface design. All platforms have a gentle slope to avoid right-angle turns and ensure the continuity of the curve:
Fenix warehouse Rotterdam section design

A detailed schematic diagram of the curved-glass rooftop section. The curved glass ceiling of the roof creates a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing the stair structure to extend out organically and expressively:

Fenix warehouse building section design detail

A detailed schematic diagram of the staircase section. Only two original beams and two columns were removed in the entire reconstruction. By retaining the main original concrete structure, a new structure was inserted to provide support for the stairs:
Fenix warehouse Rotterdam section design detail

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam – Building Information

Title: FENIX Museum of Migration
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Dates: 2018 – 2024
Typology: Museum, Renovation
Site Area: 13,200 sqm
Ramp Area: 1,050 sqm
Height: 28.3 m

Principal Partners in Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Associate Partner in Charge: Andrea D’Antrassi
Team: Neeraj Mahajan, Marco Gastoldi, Edgar Navarrete, Cievanard Nattabowonphal, Jordan Demer, Chen Yien, Yuki Ishigami, Pittayapa Suriyapee, Claudia Hertrich, Alessandro Fisalli
Client: Droom en Daad Foundation

Executive Architect: EGM
Monumental Architecture Renovation: Bureau Polderman
Construction Advisor: IMd Raadgevende Ingenieurs
Steel Constructor: CSM Steelstructures
Cladding Constructor: Central Industry Group (CIG)
Lighting Consultant: Beersnielsen lichtontwerpers
Installation Design: Bosman Bedrijven
Installation Advisor: DWA
Building Physics Advisor: LBP Sight

Photographer: Rubén Dario Kleimeer

FENIX Museum of Migration Rotterdam images / information received 131120

Previously on e-architect:

24 Nov 2018

Panoramic Viewpoint for the Fenix Warehouse

Panoramic Viewpoint for the Fenix Warehouse

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