Scaffolding is little more than a temporary structure that is erected by builders for the duration of construction works, and is often see as a general nuisance to most people by way of sight, through-fare and the associated noise that comes with its presence, correct? Wrong. Dutch architect MVRDV has just built The Stairs in Rotterdam (Netherlands), and this mega-scaffolding staircase structure is something really quite unique and awesome. With The Stairs leading to the top floor of an office block, this temporary installation allows locals, office workers and tourists to climb 180 steps to reach the roof of the Groot Handelsgebouw building that is located on the city’s market square.
With the Groot Handelsgebouw one of the first buildings to be constructed in the city after the end of the Second World War, upon its roof is an observation deck that the 29m x 57m staircase arises to. Without much resistance to the lyrical metaphor we are sure you can anticipate, the staircase certainly does look like its climbing up to Heaven (Led Zeppelin). With film screening and events within the Kriterion cinema at the top, there is certainly incentive to climb the full length and explore this peculiar tourist attraction, not to mention it’s panoramic city views.
Offering an impressive landmark for Rotterdam, the scaffolding structure responds to the angles of Rotterdam Central Station that dominates the market square, connecting the contemporary installation with such an historic national monument, whereby the very nature of the scaffoldings’ construction makes reference to the reconstruction that the city has experienced.
With the aim to create and popularise a network of rooftops throughout the city, MVRDV co-found Winy Maas explains “…The stairs are a symbolic first step towards a better use of our city’s second layer…a second reconstruction that gives access to, activates and connects the rooftops of Rotterdam.” Maybe quite a ‘symbolic’ stairway to Heaven after-all!
Marking 75 years since Rotterdam began its Second World War recovery, Rotterdam has somewhat become a European innovative hub of architectural features, with other projects of equal cultural weighting including MVRDV’s market hall and OMA’s De Rotterdam. It is expected that The Stairs will initiate several exhibitions that will raise awareness of the cityscape that exists upon it’s rooftops, looking “…to create a new, much more interactive, three dimensional and denser urban topography for the next city generation…” Maas continued, also admitting “…it would be good to make it a permanent fixture.”
The temporary structure will remain in its place until 12 June 2016. Discover more at MVRDR.nl.
A Second Layer To Your CityWhether you live in a mega-city or simply large urban setting, just imagine what society would be like if people utilised and considered the roofs of buildings as a second plane in which to navigate and interact with. Makes sense really, as any roof is simply the floor area that the building otherwise preoccupies at ground level...
(Photography Credit : MVRDR.nl)