Complied by Leah Linhares
Photography: Bas Czerwinski; courtesy Kossmann.Dejong
Take a trip through time on The Time Stairs at the Markthal and experience the birth of Rotterdam - the Gateway to Europe!
The iconic green design winner – the indoor food market, Markthal, raised on the ancient fundaments of the city of Rotterdam, continues to capture eyeballs since its opening in October 2014; and recently, with its Dutch Public Archaeology Prize 2015 for ‘Time Stairs’…
Designed by Amsterdam design practice Kossmann.Dejong, The Time Stairs is a open-to-all permanent exhibition, the concept of which is based on the archaeological objects found while digging to build the building’s car park.
Inside the 40-metre high arch-shaped roof of natural grey stone, The Time Stairs is located in the underground stairwell, at a depth of 15-metres. The escalators at the centre of Markthal lead to the shops in the basement and the parking levels. These escalators present the journey of the city through time, while the spaces underneath the escalators have been transformed into exhibition spaces, in which the discovered archaeological objects are displayed.
A graphic timeline connects the four floors; abstract graphic prints on the glass walls of the stairwell and the escalators’ sides display the different layers of soil that the visitors move through. Each floor represents a different era in the city’s history. By the use of varying degrees of transparency ‘peepholes into time’ are created; an exciting effect that continuously generates new images in both the stairwell and the different levels of the car park, whilst touch screens allow visitors to receive more information about these objects.
Because of The Time Stairs, parking is no longer just a practical act but a special experience that engages its visitors with the history of the city of Rotterdam. Since the exhibition is open daily and accessible by everyone, the location’s history is easily made available to a diverse audience. As a result, it offers an important contribution to the experience and historical identity of Rotterdam’s inner centre.