Complete renovation of the historic building of the Stedelijk Museum (A.W. Weissman completed 1895) to bring it up to the best current museum standards and convert virtually all program spaces into galleries for the renowned permanent collection. Construction of an adjoining new building (two stories above grade one below) to house galleries for temporary exhibitions visitor services public amenities library and offices. Relocation of the main entrance onto the great public lawn of Amsterdam’s Museum - plein (Museum Plaza) creating an active common ground for the first time among the Stedelijk Museum the Van Gogh Museum the Rijksmuseum and the Concertgebouw.
The Stedelijk Museum is located in Amsterdam’s Old South district in the Museum Quarter near the intersection of Paulus Potterstraat (where the 1895 building had its main entrance) and Van Baerlestraat.
Principal Design Features
The Stedelijk’s new building appears from the outside to be an entirely smooth white volume oblong in shape and canted upward at one end which is supported on white columns.
Already known by some in Amsterdam by the nickname “the bathtub ” this floating form which spreads outward at the top into a broad flat roof is actually the envelope for the second-floor galleries auditorium and offices above. It is entirely encased in glass at the transparent ground-floor level which houses the main entrance and lobby museum shop and restaurant.
Roof and Outdoor Plaza.
The roof of the new building matches the height of the original building’s cornice line. The roof’s overhang creates a sheltered outdoor plaza at ground level where programmed activities can be staged and where visitors will be protected from the elements.
Once they have gone past the entrance visitors may freely choose whether to pass directly into the original building or else take the stairs or elevator to the new building’s exhibition galleries. The lower level houses the largest free-span exhibition gallery in the Netherlands
as well as a large black-box gallery/performance space. The other galleries are on the second floor. To allow visitors to enjoy exhibitions without distractions an enclosed escalator runs directly between the lower level and second floor.
The smooth white surface of the facade is made up of 271 panels of a pioneering new composite material with Twaron® fiber as its key ingredient. The panels are attached to the steel structure by 1 100 aluminum brackets. Twaron a synthetic fiber is extremely lightweight (27 kilograms per square meter or less than half the weight of a normal curtain wall) is five times as strong as steel maintains its shape and strength in varying weather conditions and does not melt in fire. Because the composite with carbon fiber and Twaron can be molded it permits the creation of a smooth seamless surface of virtually any area. Twaron is ordinarily used for the hulls of motorboats and racing yachts sailcloth aerospace and industrial components and sports equipment such as tennis rackets and hockey sticks. At the Stedelijk it is being used for the first time for a large-scale architectural facade.
Relationships to the 1895 Building. Although the new building is unmistakably different in appearance from the original structure it matches the scale of the 1895 building and has a direct seamless connection to it on all floors. The two are fully integrated without either one being compromised. According to architect Mels Crouwel “The Stedelijk Museum of Willem Sandberg the director who put the museum on the international map was our starting point. He stripped the interior of decoration and had it painted white creating a neutral background for art. Our plan for the exterior is based on retaining the 19th-century architecture adding 21st-century technology and painting everything in Sandberg white.”
Petra Blaisse principal of the firm Inside Outside has been commissioned by the Stedelijk to design an architectural-scale textile for the interior of the new building. The work covers the back wall of the restaurant and extends into the entrance hall where it rises 14 meters (46 feet) to the top. The work has been specially fabricated by the Dutch carpet manufacturer Desso.
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