Wow, whether you love it or loath it there is no ignoring the new Markthal Rotterdam!
Designed by MVRDV, the Netherlands' first covered market shelters beneath a 40-metre arch that contains 228 apartments and is protected by glazed end walls which frame the super colourful mural by artists Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam.
Printed onto perforated aluminium panels, which line the one-hectare surface beneath the arch, the mural displays images of flowers and insects derived from 17th century Dutch paintings.
The UK's Guardian critic Oliver Wainwright has described it as "a Sistine chapel of fresh produce ... it squats like a chubby elephantine creature, lined with windows and balconies along its 120 metre-long flanks, terminating in a gaping portal towards the square like Milan's galleria, opening up to suck you into its psychedelic tunnel".
Speaking to Dezeen in Rotterdam just before construction was completed, architect Winy Maas explained that the building's unusual shape came about because he thought the initial scheme proposed by the developer was "boring". "In the beginning they wanted to have two slabs of houses, with a sort of market in between... so you get a U-shaped volume," he said. "I said "that's boring. Why don't we twist it?'" The new form provided more penthouses, a structurally simple arch and plenty of retail units on the ground floor, so the client gave the go-ahead.
Internal windows in the apartments provide residents with views of the market below, while shoppers can glimpse the people above. "Every house has a window that look into the hall," said Maas. "When you're in the market hall you see urban life. When you go up where the windows are flat you can see people walking over the windows looking down."
Words and images above Via Dezeen.
No matter what your personal opinion might be, this architecture is no doubt a defining landmark in Rotterdam. There is definitely no ignoring the 'elephant' in the square or city for that matter. I love Oliver Wainwright's view on this 'hard to ignore' new structure which you can read here: