"Rotterdam is a city that is constantly reinventing itself. And if there’s something we are proud of, it’s Rotterdam’s skyline, which the Depot will soon be a part of.”
Bas Kurvers, Rotterdam’s Councillor for Construction, Housing and Energy Transition.
The highest point of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam has been reached. The reflective building, designed by MVRDV, now stands at 39.5 metres high. Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the world’s first publicly accessible art storage facility, will open in fall 2021.
On 17 March 2017, the first pile of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen was sunk by Rotterdam’s mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb. In January 2018 the ground-floor formwork was completed when all 64 6-metre-high elements were installed to form a circle. In April of that year, the steel columns were cast in concrete, making them strong enough to support the heavy floors. With the removal of the formwork, the first external walls were visible on the inside. Scaffolding was erected for the construction of the floor of the first storey. The presentation of a life-sized model of the mirrored façade followed in June and the city council gave the building contractor, BAM Construction & Technology, approval to begin production of the cladding panels. In July 2018 the floor of the first storey was cast and the construction of the other floors began. In August, MVRDV, BAM and Rotterdam City Council inspected the quality of the cladding panels in China. The process of mounting the cladding panels began in April 2019, and at the end of the month the first 18-metre-long visitors’ staircase was installed in the atrium, followed by the other staircases. The last prefabricated ring element was installed on the fifth storey of the Depot in mid-June: the circle was complete. Since the sinking of the first pile, the construction has taken 562 working days. The highest point of 39.5 metres was reached on Tuesday 3 September 2019.
Inside the Depot
With the opening of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2021, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s entire collection of 154,000 artworks will be accessible to the public. They can choose to visit the Depot without a guided tour and get a behind-the-scenes view of how the museum works. Immediately upon entering the building, visitors will get a sense of the size of the collection and the range of the Depot’s activities. For a first introduction to Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, visitors can take the express lift to the rooftop restaurant and terrace where they can enjoy spectacular views of the city. Until 5 p.m. the roof is only accessible to visitors with a valid entrance ticket, after closing time it is also possible without a ticket. Those visitors who want to discover the depot further can buy a ticket and wander at their leisure through most of the building. Via the tall atrium vitrines, they will come to educational spaces, presentation spaces, the auditorium and the expertise centre where artworks will be restored. They will get glimpses of the various storage facilities and technical spaces, where they can see artworks being restored, silver being polished and masterpieces being packed for transportation to exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad.
“We have reached the highest point, so together with all our partners and the BAM men and women who have worked so hard on the construction of this fantastic project, we’re raising a toast to this milestone. We’re already proud of the results and are continuing steadily.”
Hans Polderman, project director at BAM Construction & Technology.
Construction Facts - Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen
- The highest point measures 39.5 metres;
- The deepest point, the ground-coupled heat exchanger, lies 248 metres below ground;
- The diameter of the building is 40 metres at ground level and 60 metres at the top;
- The building has a ground floor plus 6 storeys;
- The steel structure weighs 320,000 kg;
- The building contains approx. 9250 m3 of concrete;
- The façade comprises 1664 mirrored panels;
- The building sits on 276 foundation piles (approx. 20 metre long);
- From the driving of the first pile to reaching the highest point took a total of 562 days;
- 450 workers have been employed in the construction;
- There are 4 lifts: an express lift to the roof terrace, a public lift, a lift for artworks and a staff lift;
- There are 5 atrium staircases with a total of 184 steps;
- An as-yet-unspecified number of solar panels will be installed on the roof;
- There will be 5 different climate zones in the storage spaces;
- 75 birch trees will be hoisted onto the roof with a crane;
- The restaurant on the 6th floor seats 135 people;
- The 12-metre-high first ring comprises 750 m3 of cast concrete;
- 6250 m3 of soil has been removed from the site;
- The floor area is 15,541 m2;
- 6609 m2 of mirrored panels are mounted to an aluminium structure;
- The building contains approx. 1.5 million kg of reinforcing steel.