MVRDVHNI: The Living Archive of a Studio explores the archive of architecture office MVRDV. Het Nieuwe Instituut displays the MVRDV archive as a living entity in an office context, rather than in a museum gallery context. As a working environment, after all, the office is the place where ideas and projects move fluidly back and forth between present, past and future.
Based on three recurring themes – green, human, and dream – the exhibition highlights more than 400 projects from MVRDV's archive. In addition, Het Nieuwe Instituut offers insights into the renowned firm's working methods with drawings, sketches, models and other archive materials. The exhibition, on the institute's sixth floor, overlooks one of MVRDV's much-discussed recent designs – the new Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen.
Aric Chen, HNI General and Artistic Director says: "This exhibition sheds light on the dynamic workings of one of the most innovative architecture studios today, and how a dialogue between the firm, its archive, researchers and others can further enrich our understanding of the possibilities of architectural practice."
From scale models to digital infrastructure
The exhibition takes us behind the scenes of both MVRDV and Het Nieuwe Instituut, displaying a wealth of material and information from analogue and digital archives. Visitors get an insight into the design processes leading up to the realisation of buildings such as Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Markthal in Rotterdam. Material from the MVRDV archives ranges from early sketches and models to correspondence with engineers and contractors. In parallel, Het Nieuwe Instituut illustrates how it manages the MVRDV archive, from metres of shelves containing models, drawings and documents, to the digital infrastructure required to unlock a digital archive.
"This exhibition shows how our first 400 projects influenced our later work," says MVRDV Partner Jan Knikker. "We think it’s important that our archive is accessible to everyone. Sharing knowledge makes our profession richer, which is why Het Nieuwe Instituut's curators regularly worked in our offices during the preparations. I also think that this exhibition provides depth for people visiting the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, which we designed. It’s not a coincidence that the exhibition opens on the same day."
The MVRDV archive is the first extensive collection consisting largely of digital files in the National Collection at Het Nieuwe Instituut. The exhibition explores the opportunities and possibilities this offers for the management, accessibility, and use of the archive.
MVRDV Archive at Het Nieuwe Instituut
In 2015, Het Nieuwe Instituut, the national heritage institution for architecture, design and digital culture, began acquiring the MVRDV archive. This is more than the archive of an iconic architecture office. MVRDV also offers an example of a multidisciplinary working method, through which it develops various forms of knowledge. In addition, the archive consists mainly of digital material, which presents Het Nieuwe Instituut with new challenges concerning archive management and accessibility, but which also offers opportunities for a different relationship to heritage.
Explore the Archive
MVRDVHNI invites you to explore the archive and engage with the materials. The exhibition brings the archive to life by adding new stories to its history and by developing new instruments for making the material accessible.
In addition to the exhibition, an accompanying programme explores various themes in MVRDV’s work and the issues surrounding keeping (digital) archives.
The international architecture office MVRDV, based in Rotterdam, offers contemporary solutions for architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture around the world. Architects Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries jointly founded MVRDV in 1993, and it now operates on the cutting edge of architecture and urban development. The firm distinguishes itself through innovative designs on both small and large scales and is known for projects including Expo 2000, Silodam, Markthal, and Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, which opened to the public on 6 November 2021. As MVRDV NEXT, the firm develops innovative digital working methods and new technologies.