MVRDV wins competition for Zaanstad Cultural Cluster
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Rotterdam, The Netherlands – The municipality of Zaanstad in the Netherlands announced that MVRDV has been selected as the winner of the competition for the new Cultural Cluster in the city of Zaanstad. The new building will neighbour the city's main train station, city hall and the famous Inntel Hotel, designed as a stack of green Dutch houses. The Zaandstad Cultural Cluster is part of Sjoerd Soeters' urban plan, which is designed to add more local character to the inner city and construct in a ‘new Zaan style’. The 7,500 square metres Cultural Cluster will house five local cultural institutions, with each institution given it's own clear presence on the building's façade in the form of a void in the shape of a historic Zaan house.

Since 2001, the centre of Zaanstad has been transformed to agree with the style of the nearby UNESCO World Heritage site the Zaanse Schans. Architectural highlights of this requirement include the city hall in shape of oversized Zaan houses and the Inntel hotel, which appears as a large stack of the same green houses. The new Cultural Cluster is the next step in this urban plan. The question was raised of how to continue the Zaan style given these existing variations of the traditional house, and also how to secure a clear identity for each of the established cultural institutions within the larger envelope of a single building.

MVRDV co-founder and principal Jacob van Rijs explained the solution: “We started with a compact volume and then turned the typical Zaan house inside out, creating an urban living room. On the exterior façade a wallpaper motif contrasts with interior spaces clad in the green wooden facades so typical of the Zaan region. The characteristic shape of the Zaan house returns as the shape of the building's main atrium void, a cut-out within the larger volume.”