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MVRDV unveils Port of Rotterdam exhibition space and visitor centre

MVRDV has unveiled the design of the Harbour Experience Centre, an exhibition space and visitor centre at the Port of Rotterdam.

harbour experience centre port of rotterdam

MVRDV’s Harbour Experience Centre features a stack of five rotated exhibition spaces. It is scheduled to open in 2024 and replaces a temporary information centre called FutureLand.

FutureLand’s success prompted the creation of the Harbour Experience Centre, which is a larger, permanent exhibition and information centre where visitors can learn about the Port of Rotterdam.

The Harbour Experience Centre’s floors are square, each with a large panorama window that frames a view. The ground floor café boasts views of the North Sea, while the fourth floor restaurant overlooks the harbour.

“We think of the Harbour Experience Centre as a machine to reveal the incredible world of the port,” said MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas.

Harbour Experience Centre opens in 2024

harbour experience centre port of rotterdam

“It’s low-cost, it’s stripped back, you can see some of the building’s structure when you’re inside. But it therefore does its job almost ruthlessly – just like the machinery of the port itself.”

Designed by Kossmanndejong, the permanent exhibition covers three levels. Each of these explores a different theme, with panorama windows focusing on elements of the port that enhance the content.

“Every part of the design is geared towards engaging people and then educating them about their surroundings,” Mass added. “In that way, it not only teaches people about the Port of Rotterdam, but envelops them in the spirit of the port itself.”

The centrepiece of the building is a large atrium and exhibition space, which features a kinetic sculpture overhead and a model of the Port of Rotterdam underfoot.

The Harbour Experience Centre was built using sustainable materials and functions as an energy-neutral building with 266 solar panels and its own windmill.

FutureLand replaced at Port of Rotterdam

harbour experience centre port of rotterdam

“We are very enthusiastic about the design for the new centre and are proud that we will soon be able to take our visitors on a fascinating journey through this world port,” said Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Allard Castelein.

“Young people are encouraged to recognise the many wonderful options that the port can offer them,” added Richard van der Eijk, director of communications and external affairs at the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

“This is achieved through a mix of hi-tech and hands-on activities and experience features.”

Elsewhere, Helsinki has launched an international competition to develop a waterfront cultural and leisure district at Makasiiniranta on the South Harbour.

Images: MVRDV

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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