MVRDVHNI: The Living Archive of a Studio is a multimedia exhibition at Het Nieuwe Instituut (HNI) opening on Saturday 6 November 2021. Based on three recurring themes – green, human, and dream – the exhibition highlights more than 400 projects from MVRDV's archive. In addition, HNI offers a glimpse of the renowned firm's working methods with drawings, sketches, models and other archive materials. The exhibition, on HNI's sixth floor, overlooks one of the MVRDV's much-discussed recent designs – the new Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen.
From scale models to digital infrastructure
The exhibition gives a glimpse behind the scenes of both MVRDV and HNI, 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.
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.'
The MVRDV archive is the first extensive collection largely consisting of digital files in the national collection at HNI. The exhibition explores the opportunities and possibilities this offers for the management, accessibility, and use of the archive.
'This exhibition shows how our first 400 projects influenced 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 the HNI curators regularly worked in our offices during the preparations. I also think that this exhibition provides depth to people who visit Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen that we designed. It’s not a coincidence that the exhibition opens on the same day.”
Six new tools for a digital archive
In addition to the exhibition, Het Nieuwe Instituut has invited six designers to develop tools to search, visualise, and utilise the immense digital archive through specific criteria. It could take months to search through all the documents for a specific item in the kilometre-long physical archive, but this can be done in just a few seconds in the digital archive. A special video game was designed for the exhibition, allowing players to interactively explore the digital archive.
On 6 November, Het Nieuwe Instituut opens the exhibition MVRDVHNI with a free festive programme open to the public.
International architectural firm 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, opening to the public on 6 November 2021. As MVRDV NEXT, the firm develops innovative digital working methods and new technologies.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
As the Netherlands' institute for architecture, design, and digital culture, Het Nieuwe Instituut explores urgent design issues through exhibitions, research, and diverse partnerships, both nationally and internationally. Together with thinkers, designers, makers, and a broad audience, the institute critically reflects on the ways we interpret the past and actively shape the future.
Read more about Het Nieuwe Instituut's collection.
A 1999 graphic depicting the design for the Dutch pavilion at Expo 2000. Image: © MVRDV.