“Architecture without compromises!”

Pi de Bruijn
Architect and partner van Ci Architects

Markthof was a covered shopping gallery in Hoofddorp. In spite of the fine location and relatively recent construction, the gallery did not work. It gave the impression of a cramped corridor with quiet little shops. When we were approached for this project, we first looked at whether it could be optimised. But it soon turned out not to be feasible. The owner came up with a rigorous solution: not a renovation, but demolition and construction of a new block. This radical action turned out to be a breakthrough. We created a new shopping area with mixed functions: two floors of shopping units below, two floors of parking garages above, and on top of that, some apartments and offices.  At the same time, we made sure that it was easily accessible.

We were given all the room for an architectonically solid solution. The biggest challenge was to turn a variety of functions (retail, residential, offices, parking) into one urban block. The second challenge was to turn the many units into a varied whole. By working with vertical facades and balcony-like awnings, I combination with “gold-coloured”  bricks laid in patterns, we created a visually scintillating whole.

Project Markthof won the NRW Annual Prize 2012, awarded by the Dutch Council of Shopping Centres.  The report of the panel of judges stated: the special architecture and qualitative choices in the construction show that the work here was carried out with daring and vision for the long term – An exemplary function for the entire market.