Ahoy Rotterdam, built in 1970 as an indoor cycling and skating rink, has been expanded and modernized by Merkx + Girod working together with Zwarts & Jansma architects.
The visitor capacity has been extended and the renovated Ahoy completely meets the demands of modern events. The most important operation in achieving this, was raising the entire roof several metres. Inside Ahoy, a number of spaces have been opened up and connected, creating visitor ‘squares’; open areas which can be used for any function or facility: a reception area, wardrobes, or catering services on a number of the floors. Where possible the original construction features of the building were emphasized. The changes to the building and its interior have greatly improved the possibilities of use, orientation, logistics, ambience and lighting, whilst retaining the intimate feeling for which Ahoy is renowned.
After 40 years of intensive use, Ahoy needed to be completely renovated. The process involved much more than pure building work; Ahoy had to remain competitive and satisfy present-day demands. Modern day productions are much more demanding with respect to technical facilities and the size of the building. Visitors have much higher expectations of the supporting facilities. The renovation has fulfilled both of these requirements: Ahoy is now technically a state-of -the-art event hall, and visitors can be properly catered for before, after and during an event. At the same time, Ahoy is now able to optimally organise a greater variety of events.
An important feature of the interior design, was the fact that the use of light would be the most important aspect in creating ambience. The complete exterior of the tribune has been covered with sheet metal in which LED lights have been added. The central lighting has been designed in the form of ‘branches’ – extremely long, dimmable light fixtures that follow the contours of the arena. The ceilings have been kept dark, in order to accentuate the lighting even more. The floors have been kept light in colour, in order to improve orientation. The tiles have been laid in large sections, which also follow the contours of the arena. A new colour scheme was developed for the renovation of Ahoy, and this has been applied to all elements. All the bars and other outlets are painted in bright colours based on this scheme; this means they are visible – in the otherwise subtle surroundings. A number of walls are covered in graphic designs.
The “experience of Ahoy” starts even before the visitor has entered the building. The facade has been fitted with an LED screen, onto which a preview of that evening’s event is projected.