MVRDV Leaves Building Design to Locals


MVRDV has been selected as the designer of a 65,000sq m mixed-use complex that will redevelop a post-industrial site in Kiel Germany.

Already dubbed “KoolKiel”, the proposal is located in a formerly industrial area in Kiel, home to a population of around 250,000 located in the north of Germany.

The current building occupying the development site is home to a variety of companies working in media and the creative industries.

MVRDV says it’s this collection of tenants which has given the area a “unique and charismatic identity”, subsequently strongly influencing MVRDV’s design.

“The project’s most eye-catching element is the façade panels, made from fibre reinforced concrete, which sit in front of the window and display a variety of icons inspired by the creative output of the locals,” the design firm said.

Related: Heavyweight Architecture Shortlist Announced for 2bn Southbank Project

Proposed 'KoolKiel' development by MVRDV
Proposed 'KoolKiel' development by MVRDVImage: MVRDV

But it’s MVRDV’s commitment to the community through a “flexible design system” to switch up the plans, as the design for the development progresses.

While “KoolKiel” will see the redevelopment of a city block, the design firm says it is using a “progressive approach to participation and flexibility”.

“In a location with such a dynamic and creative existing community, it’s obvious that the community should have a say in this development,” MVRDV principal Jacob van Rijs said.

“KoolKiel is not only inspired by them, but it also allows them to tailor the proposal to their wishes—we’re presenting them with not just a design, but also a question: ‘how ‘Kool’ do you want it?’”

The proposal, which includes a hotel, offices, residences, commercial space, and an event space, makes use of a flexible design system, rather than a fixed and unchangeable plan, allowing the design to adapt easily to the needs and desires of the community as the design development progresses.

By considering the design not as a fixed concept but as a flexible system, the final building when constructed might fall anywhere on a spectrum of options, explains van Rijs.

Client Kap Horn GmbH chose MVRDV as the winning commission for the Kiel project.

Related: MVRDV Complete Surreal Nightclub and Theme Park in Seoul

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