Structural Engineer
Ove Arup Rotterdam, Theo Wulffraat & Partners
Electrical Engineer
Gunter Förg
Built in
Built-up Area
Rotterdam, Netherlands


The Kunsthal is a temporary exhibition gallery designed by Rem Koolhaas with a series of local support that enrich their primary function.
The exhibitions are of various characteristics, from a retrospective of Andy Warhol samples compact cars. The Museum Kunsthal form along with the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and the Netherlands Institute Architect The cultural triangle in the park of museums in Rotterdam.


Is located in the vicinity of the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in the quiet area of a park, along an avenue of intense traffic. It has a large exhibition space of 3,300 m2.

Koolhaas assumes different attitudes compared to the contemporary city: the seduction of sarcasm, love, reconciliation, despised, but always from a critical attitude. Kunsthal of coexistence with the environment is complex and contradictory: it expresses indifference to the neighboring building, but takes shape in plan, disregard the avenue, although ironically it is opened, separating the park, but visually it is integrated; self-absorption in relation to the city that surrounds it, but let relations penetrate the urban project.
Conflicting on this link, there seems no need to order the building of the diversity, but rather to “allow the COAS are.” It is as if the work were to say that urban space is the product of a “collective hallucination” or “dislocated society.”


Contained in a rectangular prism, the building is immediately disrupted by successive approximations, it puts in crisis, for example, the diversity of autonomous enclosures that respond to internal functions or its relation to the context. Koolhaas involves the concept of assembly by the appearance of simultaneous generation of different elements that, combined, lead to a different component. The result is expressed as a series of changing images, variously integrated, autonomous or partial readings. The entire work is fragmented, cut like a huge collage full of overlapping and conflicting intentions, where excerpts from different cultural fields are added to the set.

The building, inscribed in a square, is cut by ramps which define a continuous circle pedestrian and divide functional areas: auditorium, restaurant and offices, on the one hand, and rooms for exhibitions on the other. However, the set is permanently subjected to the presence or absence and the approach and the distance to other premises.
One of the access ramp starts at the park and connects to the building across the avenue, in this place is difficult to define whether we are inside or outside, as if it were a problem of inclusions, this element is also the link between interior and exterior of the gallery.
A ramp steps (which the audience connects with the terrace) is situated above, at a distance, running in another direction. Interstices are formed transmitting a sense of instability and unrest.
A small street to vehicular traffic drilled perpendicular to the square pit producing ramps.


There is no articulation of the components in different faces, these are raw, direct, no “turns”. In Kunsthal is an exploration on the “penetration”, the movement for pedestrians and vehicles passing through the building. The various flows, speeds and rhythms are part of the design challenge, exchanges and connections are overlapping, and mutually overlap, as appropriate. These “moving parts” believe that structure unstructured flows. Ramps acquired a role as a connector and as builders of the proposed space. This is where the architect works best indeterminacy. lived through the journey, the presence of a temporary nature, will level the metric references and produce an experience of estrangement and desperate search. The pit in which all elements are bounds equivocal.

Circulations, as well as joining the different points, create instability across the inclined planes requiring the displacement. Corrupting the pure form, the geometric distortion produced by the imbalance. The recurrence of the rise is the central theme of the building. Here the building is open in the interior or exterior-interior-interior relationship.

The “court” in the structure of the light emerges as a landmark (a pseudotorre) the plane containing the service. Lightweight and transparent from one side, the other translucent rose to affirm the presence of the building in its communicative function, especially in the avenue.

The exhibition can be used independently or complementary. Each maintains its identity. The bottom is a space, only to open the park. His columns, refer to the trunks of forest trees lost, the ceiling painted black back to the night, the room receives light from the skylights is pure day.


The strategy of Koolhaas design, structural forces are aligned with respect to the plane of earth, but also the new topography along the project, and in some quarters to launch a resolute independence of the natural order. Columns inclined defy gravity; slabs, large flat stone, are conceived as elements which emerge from the columns of concrete, metal or wood. The distortion is not achieved ornamental, but constructive.


The Kunsthal is steel, concrete, stone cladding, glazing, also translucent corrugated iron sheets or plywood. Fragmentation is the end result of this collage of materials and components that adhere to seek their own direction. Each side continues to play an autonomous “combining structure, cladding, coating, color, texture.”
The perimeter is diverse and complex in its configuration, not only for their material, but by reading the component elements, which change and transmit different meanings.
Each part of the façade speaks a language. The park at the northern access, the visitor receives outgoing with a ramp, as a language, devouring expected; divided glass panels with an autonomous language for the restaurant and lounge, while the industry prefers a higher image heavy, and closed firm, with a coating of rectangular slabs of stone. This same material re-classify a small sector of the bottom of the south facade, which opens the avenue to the rest resolved with transparent glass panels that show the height of the large exhibition hall. This concludes sector at the top with an orange beam that does not pass unnoticed, especially as it appears on a small nomadic with his camel (strident figurative abstraction in the midst of so much), which produces some strangeness in the everyday.



By WikiArquitectura (May 2018)

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