Seventy-five years after the start of the Wederopbouw reconstruction programme for Rotterdam, MVRDV presented De Trap as a tribute to that superhuman endeavour. One hundred and forty steps took visitors from the Stationsplein in front of Rotterdam Centraal Station up to the roof of the Groot Handelsgebouw, an icon in the history of the reconstruction programme. A scaffolding structure which connected a modern day icon to a historic monument. Those who climbed De Trap were rewarded by a spectacular view of the city skyline and it was used as a stage for a varied programme of films, debates and performances. MVRDV sees De Trap as a symbolic first step towards better use of second-layer architecture in cities, often referred to by Winy Maas as the ‘Tweederopbouw’. The idea is to use escalators and other structures to create public access to roofs, connect them together and use the space on top of the buildings for various activities. During the period when De Trap was in place, the public also had the opportunity of visiting an exhibition located on the roof of the Groot Handelsgebouw, which explored the possibilities of this vision.
The brilliance of this initiative in the centre of Rotterdam lies in its lightweight approach and simplicity. Optimum impact was created with minimum expense and effort. The time-bound nature of the project also acted as a magnet, attracting the public to experience it at first hand in large numbers. A brilliant strategy. In addition, the committee enjoys the humorousness of turning something as functional as walking up stairs into an unforgettable experience and sees a bright future for MVRDV’s ‘Tweederopbouw’ vision.