The Dutch architecture firm MVRDV–#5 on our list of Most Creative People in Architecture–has just broken ground on one of their wackiest projects to date: A massive market hall whose canopies double as apartment buildings.
For the Rotterdam-based MVRDV, this is a marquee commission. Sited near the Laurens Church, around which the city was founded, the 130-foot tall market canopy will house 100 stalls, shops and restaurants, and an underground supermarket–while the walls and archway will create 228 apartments. If everything performs as promised, the building just mighttransform MVRDV from an hothouse of experimental architecture, tostarchitect status.
The central engineering feat will be a system for creating a suspended glass facade. That, in turn, will allow the building to be transparent for huge stretches, and create row upon row of shops featuring display windows for showing off all their wares.
The entire development is being billed as a showpiece of sustainable food and living–a “synergy” that capitalizes on co-locating so many functions in such a dense space, and all while creating what’ll probably be one of the most interesting public spaces in the world.
Also, did we mention that the entire thing looks like a somewhat delicious, extraordinarily heavy, rum-soaked fruitcake? Except unlike what usually happens with fruitcakes, at least 228 families are expected to want it.
Construction is slated to finish in 2014.