Grand staircase being built in Rotterdam

Your vertical transportation correspondent took a lot of heat from readers recently for calling Montreal's iconic twisty stairs "deathtraps." I was actually being facetious; at TreeHugger we are big fans of stairs as a carbon-free way of getting people up and down while keeping them fit.

So of course we love this giant stair being built up the side of a building in Rotterdam by MVRDV. It will certainly help people keep fit, at 95 feet from bottom to top. Once they make it up there, they can watch a movie in the Kriterion Theater that has been closed for years; From the press release:

“I used to see Rotterdam from the Kriterion after the films and it gave an fantastic overview of the city” explains Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “The roof of the Groot Handelsgebouw, one of the best buildings of the reconstruction of the Netherlands, deserves to be used as a base for the next intensification of Rotterdam. The Stairs suggest that.”

Both the allies and the Germans did their best to bomb Rotterdam flat in World War II; the damage was so extensive that they decided to clear their plate and start over. The Groothandelsgebouw was one of the first major buildings built during the reconstruction, a massive office building modeled after Chicago's Merchandise Mart. This stair honors the 75th anniversary of the start of the reconstruction.

MVRDV stairs© MVRDV via Designboom

This version is temporary, built on scaffolds, but this might change;

"The Stairs aim to animate the rooftop and to imagine a second layer in the next step of Rotterdam’s urban planning. A second reconstruction." Tells Winy Maas. "It would be good to make it a permanent fixture."

More in Designboom

Tags: Netherlands | Stairs


treehugger slideshows