Museum Boijmans van Beuningen by Mecanoo

Boijmans van Beuningen

Boijmans considers the wings of the architects Van der Steur (1935, national monument) and Bodon (1972, national monument in proceedings) as part of the collection. Both wings are restored to their original strength and with the addition of the Mecanoo wing, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen ensemble is transformed into a beautifully clear complex with good logistics for both visitors and the back of house.

The Museum Garden is also undergoing a metamorphosis. Over the years, the museum has become a maze due to the many renovations. The entrance is difficult to find, the public has poor orientation and gets lost. The logistics of the back of house have always been very problematic. There is overdue maintenance and a lot of asbestos in challenging places. Boijmans has no front and the Museum Garden in the Museum Park feels like it is positioned at the rear.

Museum public passage
Mecanoo introduces a transparent passage, meandering organically between the buildings of Van der Steur and Bodon. A public passage from city to park and from park to city. Boijmans is transforming from introvert to extrovert, from closed to open, from a castle to a museum, where inside and outside intertwine. It therefore feels natural and organic. It is precisely in contrast that it enters into a harmonious composition with the wings of Van der Steur and Bodon.

The passage starts on Museumparkstraat as a horizontal and transparent element. With a generous entrance and the museum shop on Museumparkstraat, the Mecanoo wing subsequently fans out into a multifunctional foyer on the Buitenhof site. It is the foyer for visitors to the exhibition spaces in the Bodon and Van der Steur wings and also gives access to the Buitenhof.

Boijmans: a collection of various exhibition spaces
The Mecanoo passage creates a new Museum Park entrance with the introduction of a Park Pavilion in the current parking lot of the villas on the Westersingel. This Park Pavilion will have a partly double-height exhibition space. It is a new experience for visitors: from above you can experience art from the public passage without a ticket. This gives Museum Boijmans a diverse range of spaces in its total complex: round, oval, rectangular, organic with various heights and with different forms of daylight.

Listening to the logic of the building
Mecanoo’s restoration vision listens to the logic of the building with optimal anchoring in the context. The ideas of Bodon and Van der Steur are respected, restored and if possible even strengthened. A number of surgical interventions are needed to make the museum accessible to all target groups and to improve the logistics of the back of house. The daylight museum that the architects Van der Steur and Bodon wanted to create is being revived.

The foundations and basements from the expansion of Robbrecht and Daem in 2003 are used. Research has shown that the building of Robbrecht & Daem is not only very problematic from a spatial point of view, but also from a technical construction perspective. For these reasons, it was decided to renovate this part of the complex. This makes the Bodon and Van der Steur wings visible again, making walking routes clear and logical. A clear and inviting entrance to the city can be realized.

A good logistics network is essential for a museum with a top international collection. This network must function as a well-oiled machine and be entirely at the service of the museum. Via a central address for all logistics flows, a new logistics axis is made at the basement level of Bodon. The landscape design at ground level will be incorporated in such a way that the logistics intervention will go unnoticed.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen as a catalyst for the Museum Park
The new Boijmans is a catalyst for a stronger connection and cooperation with the surrounding institutions in the Museum Park: Depot, Nieuwe Instituut, Kunsthal, Natural History, Chabot Museum and Arminius. Larger numbers of visitors and more joint activities and programming lead to more liveliness of the entire area. For visitors, there is a clear distinction between Museum Garden and Museum Park. The Museum Garden is Boijmans’ outdoor room. Inviting sightlines emerge from Boijmans to the other institutions. The Museum Garden is freely accessible to the public.

A city park of this era
The history of the Land of Hoboken, Witteveen, Van der Steur and Yves Brunier can be felt in the Museum Park. Mecanoo adds sustainable components: more water, more nature and more biodiversity. In a contemporary city park, users and visitors want to be able to move, relax, play and meet. There are facilities for this, such as a Park Pond with fountains, seating and play elements that connect the Museum Garden with the park. Source by Mecanoo.

  • Location: Museumpark 18, 3015 CX Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Architect: Mecanoo
  • Collaboration restoration: BBM
  • Client: Gemeente Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Year: 2020
  • Images: Courtesy of Mecanoo

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