Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has a unique international collection. 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.
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. With the new Mecanoo passage, there’s even the possibility of a sensory experience: artists can design temporary installations where a play with light, sound and even smell is possible. The Park Pavilion also houses the restaurant with a view over the Museum garden.
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. Mecanoo is collaborating with BBM for the restoration.
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. Research showed that the pavilion by the architect Hubert Jan Henket from 1991 is very easy to disassemble. Along with the relocation of the Henket Pavilion, the beautiful sightlines with the Museum Garden and the restored G.J. de Jong monument, this also makes Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen easy to experience from the Museum Park. Several beautiful locations are possible for the reuse of the Henket pavilion.
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. 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. The park-like, transparent and organic Mecanoo wing has an inviting appeal with the possibility of all kinds of cultural activities, in line with the formal and informal culture of the entire 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.
With its Museumpark, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will become a place for people of Rotterdam and visitors to the city. A place where people of all generations and cultural backgrounds like to go, stay and relax. This is how Rotterdam presents its culture park at an international level. With the renewed Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen as a central player and in the role of connector.