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The other buildings dreamed up by the design gurus behind Marble Arch’s ‘Mound Zero’ 

Marble Arch Mound has come under fire by disappointed tourists for looking little like the initial modern plans, while the £2million barren eyesore has also been called ‘Sh*t Hill’ and mercilessly mocked in recent weeks.

But it is not the first time the design gurus behind the project, Dutch architects MVRDV, have hit headlines for their unique projects, as they have previously been slammed by critics for their controversial building plans.

The unusually-named MVRDV created The Market Hall, one of the most famous landmarks of Rotterdam and The Netherlands, but they are also known for designing two contentious 9/11-style towers and a house following Hurricane Katrina that looked as if it was bent double from strong winds.

Now one of their latest designs, Marble Arch Mound, has come under fire from tourists for offering 360-degree views of scaffolding, crash barriers and an empty Oxford Street.

The monument, built by construction firms NRP and FM Conway, has been savaged for hardly resembling the plans, while there have also been questions about why something so artificial-looking was built next to the great natural expanse of green land that is Hyde Park.

World-renowned architects MVRDV, based in Rotterdam, previously caused controversy in 2011 by designing an infamous pair of apartment towers in South Korea that were unbelievably reminiscent of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York.

The design gurus behind the ridiculed Marble Arch Mound also caused controversy after designing an infamous pair of towers in South Korea that were unbelievably reminiscent of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York

Dutch architects MVRDV also courted controversy after a disaster after Hurricane Katrina. It designed a house for victims in New Orleans, but the design threatened to outrage survivors as it looked like the property was bent double from strong winds

Dutch architects MVRDV also courted controversy after a disaster after Hurricane Katrina. It designed a house for victims in New Orleans, but the design threatened to outrage survivors as it looked like the property was bent double from strong winds

The architects also designed a unique block of flats in Madrid, which are used as social housing. The Mirador building (pictured) features a gaping hole in the middle, which is used by residents as a meeting area and playground

The architects also designed a unique block of flats in Madrid, which are used as social housing. The Mirador building (pictured) features a gaping hole in the middle, which is used by residents as a meeting area and playground 

The firm's completed designs include the Netherlands Pavilion for the World EXPO 2000 in Hannover and the Market Hall (pictured), which is one of the most famous landmarks of Rotterdam and The Netherlands

The firm’s completed designs include the Netherlands Pavilion for the World EXPO 2000 in Hannover and the Market Hall (pictured), which is one of the most famous landmarks of Rotterdam and The Netherlands

The controversial designs, collectively called The Cloud, featured a pair of neighbouring towers joined by a ‘pixelated’ cloud, but the project quickly prompted fury from the public and was eventually cancelled.   

But it was not the first time that MVRDV, which was formed in 1993 and named after the initials of its founders, courted controversy after a disaster.

Following Hurricane Katrina, it designed a house for victims in New Orleans in association with Brad Pitt’s Make It Right foundation, which threatened to outrage survivors as it looked as if the property had been bent double from strong winds. 

‘Provocation is good, because it pushes people,’ MVRDV head Winy Maas told Metropolis at the time, before referencing the controversial director of Fahrenheit 9/11. 

‘We need architectural Michael Moores.’

In 2005, the architects also designed a unique block of flats in Madrid, which are used as social housing, which features a gaping hole in the middle, which is used by residents as a meeting area and playground.

Now one of their latest designs, Marble Arch Mound (pictured), has come under fire from tourists for offering 360-degree views of scaffolding, crash barriers and an empty Oxford Street

Now one of their latest designs, Marble Arch Mound (pictured), has come under fire from tourists for offering 360-degree views of scaffolding, crash barriers and an empty Oxford Street

The monument, built by construction firms NRP and FM Conway, has been savaged for looking little like the original plans (pictured), while there have also been questions about why something so artificial-looking was built next to Hyde Park

The monument, built by construction firms NRP and FM Conway, has been savaged for looking little like the original plans (pictured), while there have also been questions about why something so artificial-looking was built next to Hyde Park

A September 2020 picture of the Depot Boijmans van Beuningen, designed by MVRDV in Rotterdam to house an art museum

MVRDV describe themselves as having a global scope and are there to 'provide solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues in all regions of the world'. WoZoCo, a series of one-bedroom dwellings for seniors in Amsterdam which the firm designed

MVRDV describe themselves as having a global scope and are there to ‘provide solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues in all regions of the world’. WoZoCo, a series of one-bedroom dwellings for seniors in Amsterdam which the firm designed 

The Mirador building is made up of contrasting blocks of red and grey and is described by MVRDV as a collection of mini neighbourhoods stacked vertically around a semi-public sky-plaza.

The budget for the project stood at a staggering €10million and it won first prize for Sanchinarro Mirador in the category best new building for housing in 2005.

The firm’s other completed designs include the Netherlands Pavilion for the World EXPO 2000 in Hannover and the Market Hall, a combination of housing and retail in Rotterdam. 

The Market Hall, which is now a popular landmark, was opened in October 2014 and had attracted more than six million visitors by just a year later.

The city’s mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, said that the influence of the new building went beyond just visitor numbers. 

‘The Markthal contributes immensely to the image and attractiveness of Rotterdam as a city . . . where national and international businesses want to invest,’ he said in comments reported by the FT.    

Baltyk ("Baltic") office block, designed by MVRDV architects and chosen as the best designed building built in Poland in 2017

Baltyk (‘Baltic’) office block, designed by MVRDV architects and chosen as the best designed building built in Poland in 2017

Matsudai Snow-Land Agrarian Culture Center, Matsudai, Japan, which was one of the architecture firm's many projects

Matsudai Snow-Land Agrarian Culture Center, Matsudai, Japan, which was one of the architecture firm’s many projects 

MVRDV was dreamt up by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries and they describe themselves as having a global scope and are there to ‘provide solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues in all regions of the world’.  

MVRDV also designed WoZoCo, which are one-bedroom dwellings for seniors in Amsterdam. The building is known because of the extreme cantilever of some of the apartments and the variety of materials: wood siding, colored glass balconies, concrete. 

The company’s latest project is the Dutch Pavilion of the 2000 World Expo.

MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs said of it: ‘It’s such an exciting opportunity for us to revisit this early project of ours that we first worked on over twenty years ago’

‘The original design was certainly a unique design for a very specific purpose, but despite its outspoken design its core structure is highly reusable and more flexible than originally imagined.

‘The differences between the floors will be maintained and converted into a functional office environment that nevertheless retains the unique experimental features of the Expo Pavilion. You will be able to work on the Dunes, or in the forest, or between the treepots.’ 


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