MAD Architects’ Migration Museum to open in Rotterdam in 2025

Image courtesy of MAD Architects/
The Fenix Museum of Migration in Rotterdam, a project commissioned by the philanthropic Droom en Daad Foundation and designed by China’s Mad Architects, is due to open to the public in 2025.

The 16,000 sq m building will be located in what was once the world’s largest warehouse on the south bank of the River Maas. After the bombing of Rotterdam in the Second World War, the warehouse was rebuilt in 1950 as two separate buildings, Fenix I and Fenix II.

The Museum of Migration will contain “Tornado”, a structure that climbs from the ground floor of the building and out above the rooftop, where it appears to hover above the city.

Image courtesy of MAD Architects/

This will be joined by a staircase and a public atrium, which will connect the ground and first floors with the platform on the roof.

The project’s ground floor contains three projects:

  • The Maze, an installation made up of 2,000 suitcases and stories of their owners
  • Family of Migrants, which will display hundreds of documentary images
  • Plein, a flexible space for performances and events that will be programmed by Rotterdam’s communities

Over 200 artworks have been purchased for the museum so far, including pieces by Steve McQueen, Grayson Perry, Francis Alys and Bill Viola.

In the words of the director, Anne Kremers, “FENIX’s story is Rotterdam’s. And its story is the world’s: one of arrivals and departures, and of constant change to face the future. In its landmark new home, FENIX will inspire a profound new curiosity about the world we live in”.

The original building in 1925 (Collection Stadsarchief Rotterdam Municipal Archives)

Ma Yansong, MAD’s founder and principal Partner, said: “We knew we had to create a dialogue with the existing building and its surroundings – and with a past containing so many stories of migration, memories, and uncertainty.

“In designing a new structure, we had to show this dialogue between the future and the past, and so continue the story of the building. The Tornado is all about the future, but it’s rooted in the past. For me, it’s a metaphor for the journeys of migrants who passed through this building.”

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