Before the redesign, the McDonald’s at Coolsingel 44 had been voted ‘the ugliest building in Rotterdam’ by the city’s residents. According to Dezeen, McDonald’s had already occupied the site for 45 years, but until now the restaurant had been housed within a glass structure originally built in the 1960s as a cigar shop.
The new building was designed by Mei Architects and was constructed in a remarkable two months. While the new design has been honored and recognized in the industry for several awards and nominations, the building’s mere presence has upset many residents who feel it:
a) blocks some of the city’s most historic buildings
b) takes up a substantial pedestrian footprint on one of the city’s most popular shopping streets
c) take offense to a McDonald’s being one of the most prominent building’s in the area
Criticisms aside, it’s clearly an improvement on the previous building seen below:
Many residents who wanted the entire structure torn down may want to direct their anger towards their government which has given McDonald’s another 40 years on their lease. With its location in such a high-traffic, tourist area, it’s surely the most profitable McDonald’s in Rotterdam and thus unlikely to be going anywhere, anytime soon. So with that, let’s explore the design of what’s been dubbed, “the World’s Fanciest McDonald’s”
With glazed façades 360 degrees around, the “Coolsingel Mcdonald’s” has a fully transparent lobby — entrances on three sides — and both indoor (2nd floor) and outdoor seating areas.
The pavilion features an articulated façade, carried out in a single material: gold anodized aluminum. As McDonald’s is open day and night (24/7), the skin of brass is perforated with heart-shaped openings to form a ‘veil’ around the glazed building through which illumination shines. With the application of various degrees of perforation, the brass façade depicts a crowd of people on Coolsingel.
Unlike the old building, which was built against the wall of a historic post office building, the new fast-food restaurant stands in the centre of the pavement to make it look more like a pavilion.
As McDonald’s is open day and night (24/7), its appearance after dark is important. In the evening it glows to attract the nightlife crowd. The skin of brass is perforated with heart-shaped openings to form a ‘veil’ around the glazed building through which illumination shines.