Before the makeover, the McDonald’s at Coolsingel 44 had been voted as ‘the ugliest building in Rotterdam’ by the city’s residents. According to Dezeen, originally built in the 1960s as a cigar shop, McDonald’s had already occupied the site for 45 years, but until now the restaurant had been surrounded by a glass structure.
The new building was designed and constructed in only two months by Mei Architects. While the new design has been honored and recognized in the industry for a few awards and nominations, the building’s presence has managed to upset many residents because they sense it blocks some of the city’s most historic buildings, it takes up a substantial pedestrian footprint on one of the city’s most popular shopping streets and that it’s an offense to McDonald’s famous branch in the city, being one of the most prominent building’s in the area.
Criticisms aside, it’s clearly an improvement on the previous building seen below:
The opposing 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. [source]
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. [source]
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. [source]
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. [source]
– Dezeen: McDonald’s restaurant by Mei Architects boasts a golden facade and a spiral staircase
– Designboom: mei architects and planners complete coolsingel McDonald’s in Rotterdam
– Mei Architects: McDonald’s Coolsingel 44