The design

The Chinese architectural firm MAD Architects has been contracted by the Droom en Daad Foundation to design a panoramic viewpoint on top of the historic Fenix warehouse. The Rotterdam based company Bureau Polderman will be responsible for restoring the historic warehouse itself.


FENIX, artist impression (c) MAD Architects, 2020

'FENIX will be a place to wonder and to explore about the past, the present and the future. When we look at the path we’ve been through in the past, we know the future won’t be linear.' Ma Yansong, founder of MAD Architects

MAD Architects was founded in 2004 by the Beijing-born Ma Yansong. MAD Architects quickly became renowned as one of the world’s most innovative and dazzling architectural firms. MAD Architects work is characterized by its use of organically and technologically advanced shapes in their designs. People, city and the environment are brought together seamlessly in their buildings.

'FENIX will become a landmark for all those millions who left Europe from the banks of the Maas, and for everybody arriving today. It offers a great future for Rotterdam's past.' Wim Pijbes, director of the Droom en Daad Foundation

China and Katendrecht
The Katendrecht peninsula, located on the southern banks in the port of Rotterdam once was one of the oldest China towns in Europe. Around the 1900s it was here that one could find opium kits and that the first Chinese restaurant opened its doors in the Netherlands, and possibly in Europe. By choosing MAD Architects this forgotten part of history will be brought to life once more.

The commissioning of this platform on top of the Fenix warehouse II signifies the first public cultural building in Europe to be designed by a Chinese architectural agency. In addition to the platform MAD Architects will design a theatric staircase and a public atrium in the Fenix warehouse II which will merge the ground and first floors with the platform on the roof. The Fenix warehouse was once one of the biggest warehouses in the world. In the future the first floor will be used to highlight Rotterdam’s history of migration. Millions of migrants left Europe from these embankments, most of whom had Ellis Island as their final destination. FENIX will be the place where a human face will be put to these stories.