Floating festival heart in the Maashaven during Rotterdam Architecture Month ’23

Published on: 07 Mar 2023

Floating festival heart © Studio Marco Vermeulen

Last year, the MVRDV-designed pink Podium on top of Het Nieuwe Instituut was a great success. This summer, Rotterdam Architecture Month will be returning with another crowd pleaser: a floating festival heart in the Maashaven.

A park, urban sports site and event venue

The festival heart consists of three huge floating barges. On one barge, visitors can enjoy the green surroundings of a temporary park or attend one of the talks, debates, films and other events. Another barge is all about urban sports like freerunning and calisthenics. The barges are linked by a footbridge, which also acts as an extended viewing platform. The festival heart therefore offers a unique view over the Maashaven and the rest of the city as well as demonstrating the potential of water. The floating installation is a concept by Rotterdam-based architecture office Studio Marco Vermeulen. The urban sports barge is being set up in partnership with designer and freerunner Onur Eren.

Theme: Liquid City

This year’s theme for Rotterdam Architecture Month is Liquid City. Rotterdam is a port city on two banks, so surrounded and saturated by water. The floating festival heart brings together complex challenges relating to water and climate in concrete urban solutions. In an outdoor exhibition, designers, architects and the municipal authorities present innovative solutions that are already being applied in the city and highlight which solutions you can harness to make the city more resilient to the consequences of climate change, for example.

Zomer op Zuid and the Nelson Mandelapark

With the floating festival heart, Rotterdam Architecture Month wants to build a bridge between different developments around the Maashaven, like the Nelson Mandelapark. This new urban park in the Maashaven is currently under development and will eventually be the size of ten football pitches. In a way, the floating festival heart of Rotterdam Architecture Month is a test location; by collaborating and sharing knowledge now, energy and a network can be created and used in the further development of the Nelson Mandelapark. Rotterdam Architecture Month is also part of Zomer op Zuid. This big event takes place throughout the summer, presenting what the south side of the city has to offer.

About Rotterdam Architecture Month

Rotterdam Architecture Month (RA Month) is the biggest architecture festival in the Netherlands about the future of the city. The event is organised every June, choosing a new and appropriate site for the festival heart each year. It is open to everyone, regardless of their knowledge or experience with architecture. With over 100 partners from education, the cultural sector and the design industry, RA Month organises and facilitates over 125 activities spread over more than 40 locations. Discover how architecture and urban planning influence and improve daily life. Visit remarkable interventions, tours, workshops, talks, exhibitions, films and festivities exploring the city of the future. The month is an initiative of AIR – Architectuur Instituut Rotterdam, Rotterdam Festivals and Rotterdam Partners.

This year, Rotterdam Architecture Month is being sponsored by the City of Rotterdam, Rotterdam Festivals, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, Rotterdam Partners, AIR – Architectuur Instituut Rotterdam, Studio de Ronners, Stichting Job Dura Fonds, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam, de Maassilo, Dutch Steigers and Eurobarges.