Pioneering in a housing crisis: visit Rotterdam Architecture Month

Published on: 24 May 2022

We stand at the threshold of complex building tasks that will have a major impact on our living environment. The disrupted housing market and climate change require spatial transitions. Affordability and a level playing field are under pressure. What does this mean for residents and what role do architects and city planners play? 

The sixth edition of Rotterdam Architecture Month responds to these pressing issues with a comprehensive content-rich programme and a main exhibition based in the Festival Heart. Throughout the month of June, the Festival Heart with a programme on the pink Podium designed by MVRDV and the main exhibition (T)huis – House/Home – designed by Namelok are free to visit in and on top of Het Nieuwe Instituut.


Opening lecture by architect Ninke Happel

Renowned architect Ninke Happel of Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven Architecten (HCVA) kicks off with the traditional opening lecture on 1 June, after Mayor Aboutaleb’s opening remarks. At a height of 29 metres, she will address the theme of Vista Rotterdam! and the theme of the main exhibition (T)Huis from the Festival Heart of RA Month. Using these themes as starting point, Happel gives consideration to the long-term value of architecture in a chaotic, short-term world.  At a time in which the environment is constantly changing, she sees that the built environment benefits most from long-term interventions.

Ninke Happel. Photo: Willem de Kan

Feeling at home in a changing living environment

Namelok curated the RA Month main exhibition (T)Huis. The housing crisis is one of today’s greatest building challenges. From Het Podium, atop Het Nieuwe Instituut, urban growth passes before our eyes: residential tower blocks are being built, while green places to linger are being planted to improve the living environment.
But does the overwhelming panorama to be seen from The Podium reflect our House/Home, or does that play out below, at eye level?  The exhibition asks the question: what are you not seeing? “You see the skyline, as a material world. But what you don’t see is life in the city – you’re too far away for that”, says owner and architect Wiegert Ambagts. Over 40 innovative plans and projects by architects, makers and students show that a feeling of home is not only found in bricks and mortar, but is an interplay with social structures that are at least as important for a good living environment.

Image: Namelok

Vista Rotterdam! More than a vantage point

RA Month’s multifaceted programming makes The Podium more than just a vantage point: throughout the whole of June, a variety of architectural events are taking place on the roof. Visit for example the Rotterdam Late Night architecture special with host Ernest van der Kwast on 2 June, the Rotterdam Rooftop Days’s knowledge day in collaboration with AIR on 4 June or one of the other in-depth architecture programmes in collaboration with, among others, the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design, Creative Industries Fund NL, Platform Wederopbouw, the Municipality of Rotterdam’s Architect in Action, Local Architecture Initiatives, IABR and OMI. There are also various film programmes in collaboration with AFFR, Goethe institute and Galerie de Jaloezie, and several book presentations on architecture. Check the full programma here.

Image: MVRDV

Beeld: MVRDV

Visit the programma at the Festival Heart

The construction of The Podium is in full swing! The scaffold builders from Dutch Steigers are rapidly giving the city podium designed by MVRDV its shape on the roof of Het Nieuwe Instituut. Anyone wishing to attend an architecture programme on the roof during RA Month can reserve a ticket. Visitors to an architecture programme have automatic access to The Podium. There is no need to reserve seperate a time slot.

Images: Isa de Jong