Summer Newsletter: Art in Boijmans and in the port of Rotterdam
20 June 2010

Submarine wharf

A new exhibition space in The Port of Rotterdam.

Submarine Wharf in the 1930s.
Submarine Wharf in the 1930s.

This summer the museum and the Port of Rotterdam present the latest exhibition by Atelier Van Lieshout in the port of Rotterdam. This Submarine Wharf, built between 1929 and 1938, is comparable in size to the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London. This location has a rich history.

Redevelopment of RDM terrain
The Submarine Wharf is part of the former terrain of the Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (RDM) at Heijplaat. The RDM complex is a pearl in the harbour. This piece of early twentieth-century industrial heritage is currently being redeveloped with a focus on education, innovative companies and culture. The re-use of the Submarine Wharf is one of the Port Authority’s initiatives to bring a broad public into contact with the harbour. The port is not only a place for industry and the transfer of goods, but has many other faces.

The former RDM submarine Wharf was erected by the RDM in various periods prior to World War II. The middle shed dates back to 1929, and the lower, narrow shed on its eastern side was added in 1936/1938, followed by the longest, most westerly shed in 1939.

From slipway to exhibition space
The Submarine Wharf was, in fact, covered slipways. The facades were virtually closed in connection with their original function (military shipbuilding) and only have horizontal window beams with steel profiles high in the facade. After becoming redundant for shipbuilding, the sheds were used for years for storage and repairs. In connection with the new function, as exhibition space, the floors of the slipways/slopes were levelled. During this period, the two oldest sheds were separated into various compartments by means of dividing walls.

Check the website here