The Chinese company MAD Architects has been contracted by the Droom en Daad Foundation to design a panoramic viewpoint on top of the historic Fenix warehouse in Rotterdam. When the Fenix warehouse opened its doors on Katendrecht in 1923, it was the largest warehouse in the world. From these docks, millions of people left Europe for the New World. And from elsewhere set foot in Rotterdam.

A warehouse with a long history

The Katendrecht peninsula, located on the southern banks in the port of Rotterdam once was one of the oldest Chinatowns in Europe. Around the 1900’s it was here that one could find opium kits and that the first Chinese restaurant opened its doors in the Netherlands, and possibly in Europe. By choosing Mad Architects this forgotten part of history will be brought to life once more.

Architectural sketch of Fenix

Architectural sketch of Fenix (Sketch: MAD architects)

Fenix warehouse I has been transformed into an apartment complex with public services on the street level. After a restoration, Fenix warehouse II will be the home of FENIX: the Museum of Migration, a mix of creative, culinary and cultural businesses and a spectacular viewpoint.

The future museum of Migration

The Droom en Daad Foundation was established in 2016 to make the city of Rotterdam better and more beautiful. Droom en Daad invests in art and culture. One of the first initiatives of the foundation was to preserve and vitalize Fenix warehouse II to tell the stories of millions of migrants.

A warehouse with a long history

A warehouse with a long history (Rendering: MAD architects)

The first floor of the warehouse will in future be used for the FENIX Museum of Migration to highlight Rotterdam’s history of migration. Millions of migrants left Europe from these embankments, most of whom had Ellis Island as their final destination. Art and history will merge to exhibit the universal and timeless story of hope and love, goodbyes and new beginnings. The Fenix will be the place where a human face will be put to these stories.

Wim Pijbes, director of the Droom en Daad Foundation said: “FENIX will become a landmark for all those millions who left Europe from the banks of the Maas, and for everybody arriving today. It offers a great future for Rotterdam’s past.’ On the ground floor FENIX will house creative, culinary and cultural businesses. On the roof a spectacular viewpoint will offer a 360 degree view onto the Maas and Rotterdam.

Commissioned to Chinese architects

The platform on Fenix

On the roof a spectacular viewpoint will offer a 360 degree view onto the Maas and Rotterdam. (Rendering: MAD architects)

The commissioning of this platform on top of the Fenix warehouse to MAD architects signifies the first public cultural building in Europe to be designed by a Chinese architectural agency.  In addition to the platform MAD will design a theatric staircase and a public atrium in the Fenix warehouse which will merge the ground and first floors with the platform on the roof.

The Fenix warehouse II is currently undergoing large-scale restoration. After the restoration FENIX will open its doors.

Read more about FENIX in Amsterdam in a recently published article on the online magazine archdaily.