MAD Architects, Led by Ma Yansong, was commissioned by the Rotterdam, Netherlands-based Droom en Daad Foundation again, to make an initial design that turn the riverfront Provimi warehouse into a new cultural destination, the Danshuis (Dutch language for “the Dance House”). The project is intended to be equipped with professional dance studios, theaters, exhibition spaces to welcome dancers from all around the world to perform all kinds of dance freely.
Through this latest major cultural project, the Droom en Daad Foundation aims to make the city of Rotterdam a world leader through art and culture. The Danshuis transforms the old warehouse on the south bank of the Mas River Rotterdam into a symbol for freedom and pluralism. A vibrant place for the exchange of world dance culture, it will echo the adjacent "Fenix Museum of Migration," MAD’s first European cultural project, which together realize and strengthen the connection of the cultural fabric of the city.
MAD Architects has retained the original warehouse structure while introducing a number of iconic design gestures to express the pursuit of freedom and pluralism. Ma Yansong designed a yellow seagull sculpture on the landscaped terrace on the second floor of the Danshuis along with red neon signs facing the river. In the middle area of the top floor, MAD designed an open-air semi-circular theater in a nod to the Ancient Greek gathering spaces for the free public come together through a shared love for the arts. Animated by the dancers in the orchestra pit, the classicism of this performance space masterfully contrasts the contemporary backdrop of the rapidly changing scenery along the Mas River Rotterdam.
In the Danshuis, people will feel the outdoors from within, the flow of dance and music in the process of watching and being watched, and the free transmission of art through tangible and intangible forms. "Dance is a flowing art of space. To emphasis that and respect the locality and history of the building, we decided to make minimum change to the original structure, just to add art installations in conversation with the environment” said Ma Yansong. “With this second commission from Droom en Daad Foundation, we hope to highlight Rotterdam's yearning for freedom and embracing of diverse global cultures. The Fenix Museum of Migration and the Danshuis are closely linked and will also look to the future together in Rotterdam's century-old port.”
The Fenix Museum of Migration is scheduled for completion in 2024, and likely the Danshuis will start construction soon.