Discover Benelux, Issue 60, December 2018

Page 50

Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands  |  Creating Quality of Life

The Fenix building, seen from the water.

Blending and blurring for durable buildings TEXT: KARIN VENEMA  |  PHOTOS: OSSIP VAN DUIVENBODE

The architects who designed the new McDonald’s at the Rotterdam Coolsingel are not from an ordinary firm. The fast food pavilion was once proclaimed ‘the ugliest building in Rotterdam’, but after Mei architects and planners had their way, it soon became famous for being ‘the world’s fanciest McDonald’s’. Mei is wellknown for their innovative design and in-depth knowledge. Their need to understand their clients’ wishes has brought the architects to their diverse competencies. Mei architects 50  |  Issue 60  |  December 2018

and planners founder and director Robert Winkel explains: “I like to get under the skin of the client, to understand their identity completely. Before we took up the design of the new McDonald’s, I immersed myself in the world of McDonald’s by flipping burgers for a bit. It made me realise that there is more to it than meets the eye, and it inspired us to come up with a studious design that pleased both the franchise holder and the local council.” The instruction was to design a building that would blend into the historic

Robert Winkel.