The ‘Ugliest Building’ in Rotterdam Is Transformed Into the World’s Coolest McDonald’s

Quite an upgrade by Mei Architects

A building that was once voted the ugliest in Rotterdam, Holland, has been transformed into a striking McDonald's that some are likening to an Apple Store.

The original structure, from the 1960s, was horribly dated, with an undistinguished two-story glass facade that sort of vomited onto the Coolsingel, a busy midtown thoroughfare, from the greying bricks of an old post office behind it. (Vomit is an architectural term, right? We're talking about McD's, so I'll stick by it.)

Here's a vintage photo of the building:

In recent years it housed a McDonald's, but the chain was unhappy with its digs and wanted an upgrade. Mei Architects created the new McDonald's Pavilion, which boasts all manner of ornate details. These include a white steel spiral staircase and huge, ornate golden panels (not just arches!) with perforations that form the image of a crowd of people—an effect that's achieved both inside and outside the restaurant. (It's like you'll never dine alone again.)

Various media have likened the glitzy structure to an Apple Store—which, in this day and age, is like comparing it to the Parthenon or Colosseum.

Here's a gallery of images of the new building (photos by Jeroen Musch):

"The transparency and openness, as well as the depicted crowd on the facade panels, emphasize that McDonald's is for everyone, for every Rotterdam resident," Mei Architects' Marloes Koster tells AdFreak. "You can look into the kitchen directly from the street. The pavilion stands in the heart of the city, and is always open for the public, 24/7."

The building won an Iconic Awards 2015 prize for excellence in architecture and design, with the organization praising the pavilion as an "independent symbol of quality and contemporary developments." (The food hasn't won any awards, as far as I know.)

It's all pretty impressive. But there are a few things missing … like a reservation system and table service! I've gotta carry my own tray? No thanks, Holland! (All-day breakfast wouldn't hurt, either.)

Via Design Taxi. GIF by AdFreak from a Mei Architects video.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.