ambition and program
The museum aims to be a preferred destiny for modern art lovers. A large property with four landscapes: meadows, park, forest and dunes. An early 20th century monumental country-house. And the new museum, to accommodate the largest private art collection in the country. The client asked for a building ‘to serve the art’. The architect pursued a design that would not be ostentatious, but spacious and refined in its detailing and handling of light. The result was to be of a merciless precision, abandoning all superfluous elements. The program consisted of art galleries for the collection, similar spaces for the changing exhibitions and a wing for so called ‘permanent works’ that are fixed and built in, as part of the museum, like a James Turrell room, and the hall for a Richard Serra sculpture. Added to these spaces are a shop, a library, educational space, a restauration workshop and auxiliary spaces. A restaurant and staff rooms are provided in the country house.
structure and simplicity.
The main concept for the design consists of a series of walls, parallel to the almost north-south stratification of the landscape. Thus, the museum avoids being a composition of solid ‘white cubes’. The structure, instead, opens up to the beautiful surroundings and provides a diversity of vista’s from the interior outwards. From the generous entry hall, a direct view on the landscape is given, as well as the start of two exhibition areas. On the same spot, before starting to explore the building, one has a longitudinal vista over the full length of the plan.
The plan is designed on a strict grid of 200 x 200 mm., defined by the width of the parquet planks. The walls are servicing walls, hiding structure, technical installations, safety-doors, climate facilities and alike. All elements that are not contributing to the design, are left out of sight, minimalised, and hidden. Most (or should one say: Less) conspicuous is the fire-alarm and exit sign: these are hidden in the stucco of the passages through the servicing walls and only light up in case of fire. The first hidden exit sigh of its kind! As a result the spaces are ephemeral and silent, and of a strict order.
daylight and artificial light
Daylight is the key element in the character of the museum. The roof in this sense is an innovation in itself: in the way it leads and directs the sunlight, and moreover in the way artificial light is integrated for those moments when daylight is insufficient.
The main ’actor’ is the special light roof that cantilevers out over the full surface of the museum. This roof consists of white aluminium panels with –in total- 115.000 white tubes, cut off at an angle. The roof allows ca. 20 % of the incoming light to pass. Below this light filtering roof there are the sloping glass roofs. Below those, in the main galleries, the velum, that spreads and diverts the light onto the walls. Appropriate for the private character of the collection, the light-tubes reflect the southern (sun-) light instead of the northern light that is most often used. Living, changing light is the result. In the mullions of the glass roof, small, but powerful LED uplights have been integrated at 600 mm distance. They light up to the white roof, thus adding smoothly the required light level to the daylight, whenever necessary. Since the heat-load of these lamps is not transferred to the interior, the cooling installation has been significantly reduced.
Although much larger than the country house, the horizontally articulated museum complies with the typology of a pavilion, with a paradoxical character: open and yet enigmatic, large and refined, slender and firm, expressing silence and contemplation.
Kraaijvanger Architects has designed for the future since its founding in 1927, always looking forward and reinventing itself. Today Kraaijvanger specialises in complex and sustainable projects in a metropolitan context. With over half of the world’s population living in cities, urban density is a pressure cooker for innovation and prosperity, it provides opportunities for efficient resource use. That’s why Kraaijvanger aims to create a healthier world with attractive and enjoyable living environments; where cities are ecosystems, with buildings that live and breathe, buildings that are continually being reborn.
Museum Voorlinden – home of the Netherlands biggest private art collection – is designed by Dirk Jan Postel, architect at Kraaijvanger since 1988, partner since 1992. With an eye for detail and a thorough knowledge of materials (particularly regarding glass) he realized various town halls, schools, a glass pavilion, a theatre and the Dutch Ambassador’s Residence in Beijing.
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