Multi Mill by NL Architects


Cultural Stage by NL Architects

Dutch studio NL Architects have won a competition to design a stage intended to sit on a breakwater in the river IJ, Amsterdam.

Cultural Stage by NL Architects

Called Multi Mill, the structure is meant to host performances including theater, film, fashion, sculpture, sound and light art, dance, video and music.

Cultural Stage by NL Architects

The design consists of three arms extending from a central platform: a screen, stepped seating and a longer catwalk.

Cultural Stage by NL Architects

A turntable would allow the whole structure to be rotated for different types of event.

Cultural Stage by NL Architects

Here are some more details from NL Architects:

Multi Mill

Competition entry for a cultural facility in Houthavens West, Amsterdam: 1st prize

Cultural Stage

The Port of Amsterdam commissioned Roos Burger & Yvon Yzermans, two collaborating art historians, to develop a cultural facility in Houthavens West. The Port wants to improve the attractiveness of the area to the public by realizing a cultural meeting place in the transforming area between city and port. The idea of NL Architects is to construct a flexible ‘base’ that can facilitate various art forms like: theater, film, fashion, sculpture, sound and light art, dance, video, music... Roos Burger & Yvon Yzermans will curate the outdoor events.

Cultural Stage by NL Architects


The ‘object’ will be positioned on the Haparandadam on the banks of the IJ River. Introducing a cultural stage in this vibrant environment is exhilarating: the view is inspiring, the backdrop dynamic. This stretch of land in Amsterdam is so recent that it doesn’t even show up on Google Earth! But the Haparandadam will be ‘on the map’ soon…

Cultural Stage by NL Architects

Transforming Port

The Port of Amsterdam is in a perpetual process of transformation. Due to scale enlargements harbor activities migrate from east to west - towards the Sea. This opens up large areas for new developments. Beside the already existing port industry the environment becomes more and more a complex ‘urban ecology’.

This implicates an amalgam of functions: living, education, working, culture and leisure. The Houthavens, the former ‘wood port’, now will be turned into a residential area. And of course the creative industry will find an exciting biotope around here. Although this old part of the port is being domesticated, it still forms an ‘edgy’ alternative for the increasingly cultivated inner city. The port is becoming the energetic alter ego of Amsterdam.

Cultural Stage by NL Architects

Port Transformer

The versatility of the assignment is the ultimate challenge for Architecture: how can one single spatial given host all these functionalities in a credible way?

The sketch consists of three wings that are connected to a central platform. The wings have specific shapes that cater for specific usage. The ‘arms’ can support fashion shows, cinema and theatre. The design will evoke varied programming; besides the evident ways to deploy the object, it hopes to catalyze unexpected ‘inhabitation’. The idea is to develop an adaptable object that can be used both as a stage and as a stand.

Cultural Stage by NL Architects


The design is intended as a revolving structure. The turning multi-form plateau will allow performances with changing backgrounds. The relationship with the context can be changed at will; the view to and from the bowl will be dynamic. By turning the plateau a specific function can be ‘switched on’. As such the square in front of it can be ‘charged’ in different ways.

Cultural Stage by NL Architects


The location at the tip of the jetty is exciting. It will feature an elevated restaurant in a former offshore radio station; a drop off point for the private cars of skippers; a parking-lot and a turning circle for trucks. The object will activate the fairly large paved area; from a purely functional square it will transform into a cultural stage!

Cultural Stage by NL Architects

Click above for larger image.

Location: Haparandadam, Westelijke Houthavens
Client: Port of Amsterdam and Roos Burger & Yvon Yzermans
NL Architects
Pieter Bannenberg, Walter van Dijk, Kamiel Klaasse
Gen Yamamoto with Ines Quinteiro Antolin, Marc Bitz, Qili Yang, Liping Lin, Lorena Valero Minano and Matthieu Moreau

See also:


Pearl River Necklace
by NL Architects
Feel the Difference by
NL Architects
Virtual Realities by
NL Architects

Posted on Tuesday August 17th 2010 at 1:30 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • barneymac

    Is this not a bit to similar in concept to the Prada Transformer? A nice idea but certainly not an original one!

    • clou

      Yes, the two projects are adaptable through a similar action, but I wonder if the kind of "original" you're seeking is even possible. That you've noticed the similarity is a keen observation, and I'd suggest you curate a blog, book, or exhibition (or who knows what) and place these two projects together. Maybe compare how they function through a detailed analysis. I wouldn't worry about the originality of the concept because even though transformation through rotation is an age-old operation, this specific project has some interesting results.

      Furthermore, while the Prada transformer required a crane, it seems possible that this adaptability takes a lot less effort and could even lead to an urban landscape of shifting connections and functions operated by its users.

  • Hmmmm, erg interessant! I hope the weather will not cause any problems to the structure and the events it is meant to host. I also wonder how it will deal with urban deterioration like graffiti or skateboarding etc. Is it meant to be a temporary structure or a permanent one?
    Interesting object nonetheless.

  • claudia

    I agree…
    it is a "nice" project.
    i dont see so relevant that it can rotate…
    and yes, too much like PRADA transformer…

    • logorithm

      It is very nice and I don't see it has any similarities with the prada transformer at all.

  • fma

    I so enjoy projects that take complexities, and delivers a versatile swiss knife design! An elegant, simple, and playful structure, yet pleasantly multifasceted. It wood be good to add Florian VLtmn's thoughts to the list of complexities, the outcome would only be richer. Overall thums up!

  • Fminus

    i dont see transformer.. i see cock and balls..

  • Annarita

    well if you guys are looking for references.. here we go: villa girasole by Angelo Invernizzi

    whatever the concept, this is a nice project. …and BTW concepts are SO nineties. better to ditch the whole idea and enjoy this lovely piece.

  • Felix

    the capacity looks very low for such an expensive structure

    and it'll be very windy

  • IKoe

    scary the obsession with autorship and 'who did what the first time' on these blogs.
    it blinds. look and enjoy the project. this one is fantastic! mill tradition but horizontal.
    hope the wind will help it move. BUILD IT!

    @annarita: that's a great one!

  • mmm

    NL architects is just really good at these little urban elements.

  • unkertect

    yes. no capacity. awkward in many…many respects. the concept, the reference to the windmill-lovely.

  • janja

    does anyone know which material is used here?