Home Magazine Rotterdam contemporary art museums increase their green spaces

How important will green, outdoor spaces become for museums? The trend of the open-air museum is sharply on the rise, and it is an issue which will arguably impact the economic fortunes of certain museums in the current climate. The Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam (Netherlands), together with the Dutch architectural studio Mecanoo has recently presented an extensive project for a new transparent wing connected to the Park Museum nearby. 

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The Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam. Courtesy Mecanoo Studio.


The new wing favors a "clear circulation" for visitors, attracting new and curious audiences and allowing them to relax amongst the art itself. "In a contemporary city park, users and visitors want to be able to move, relax, play and meet," the Dutch firm notes. " There are facilities for this, such as a park pond with fountains, seating and play elements that connect the museum garden with the park. It is logical and beautiful to connect the sculpture route of the westersingel via a passage between the villas to the museum park." The wing itself is transparent and winds between the Van Der Steur’s (1935) buildings and the Bodons’ (1972). The area it covers will therefore become a public, open passageway, which starts from the Museumparkstraat and expands into a multifunctional foyer on the Buitenhof site. Thanks to the new Mecanoo wing, the public will now therefore be able to reach the Museum Park, which will be visually introduced by a Park Pavilion which is situated in what is currently the parking lot of the villas on Westersingel. Inside the new pavilion - which has a double-height exhibition space - artists will be able to design temporary installations by using light. 


The Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam. Courtesy Mecanoo Studio.


"Boijmans is transforming from introvert to extrovert, from closed to open, from a castle to a museum, where inside and outside intertwine,’ explains Mecanoo. ‘It therefore feels natural and organic ... it enters into a harmonious composition with the wings of Van Der Steur and Bodon." The project is part of a larger renovation of the current Museum Park, and by bringing together the different buildings by the architects Van Der Steur and Bodon, Mecanoo studio has necessarily collaborated with the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum. 

The Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum was founded in 1849 when the lawyer and art collector Frans Jacob Otto Boijmans left his collection to the city of Rotterdam. Over a century later, the well-known collection of the industrialist Daniël George van Beuningen was also given to the museum. Opened in 1935, it was specifically designed to host the Boijmans collection. The building has since become a clear landmark for the people of Rotterdam, as its distinctive tower is a familiar feature of the city’s skyline. Among the items its noteworthy collection, the Museum presents a detailed overview of Dutch and European art from the early Middle Ages to the 21st century. There are masterpieces from Hieronymus Bosch, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Dalí, Mondrian and Rothko

Cover image: The Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam. Courtesy Mecanoo Studio.

Written by Elisabetta Rastelli

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