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Tilburg chooses Mecanoo and ABT for the design research of the TextielMuseum and its surroundings

03.06.2022 - Project updates

The Municipality of Tilburg has engaged Mecanoo architects and engineering firm ABT for a design study for the redevelopment of the TextielMuseum and its surroundings, in which the buildings of the Mommerskwartier will be renovated, made more sustainable, offering improved functionality for the museum and new textile-related functions. The provisional award has been confirmed and the project will start from the second week of June.

The assignment goes beyond the buildings of the nationally listed former factory complex in the Mommerskwartier, which now houses the TextielMuseum. The redevelopment aims also to strengthen the urban fabric of the neighbourhood and the Museum Quarter. The TextielMuseum is located in the Museum Quarter, which also includes the De Pont museum. The Museum Quarter is central to the next step in urban area development following the development of the Spoorzone (railway zone), Piushaven and the city centre. The area will gain vibrancy and enhance its appearance by becoming an attractive environment with a renovated museum and a new hub with various economic and educational functions in the Dröge building.

Alderman Marcelle Hendrickx: “In the Museum Quarter we connect the history of Tilburg as a textile city with the cultural and innovative strength of today's makers. Tilburg is a #cityvanmakers (cityofmakers). We are realising our ambitions in the plans for the TextielMuseum and its surroundings and we are taking an important first step with the redevelopment.”

For Tilburg, the research by design for the TextielMuseum and its surroundings (Mommerskwartier) represents the next step towards decision-making about tangible redevelopment. Next year, the new municipal executive can submit a decision to the city council on the basis of the results of the investigation. With Mecanoo and ABT, the municipality is convinced that it has selected the right parties for the assignment. It was not only their extensive track record and expertise that was the deciding factor in choosing this team, but also their great commitment to and enormous enthusiasm for the assignment.

The final decision of selecting Mecanoo and ABT was preceded by a careful process, in which an assessment committee assessed tenders from different teams in three phases. In addition to representatives of the TextielMuseum, the future hub in the Dröge building and the municipality, the assessment committee consisted of Floris Alkemade (chairman of the committee) and Saskia van Stein. Floris Alkemade is known in the architecture world and to the wider public as an architect and former Government Architect (2015-2021). Saskia van Stein has been director of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) since 2021.

The assessment committee was very enthusiastic about the approach of Mecanoo and ABT, in which co-creation was identified as the core of the process. Their tender also showed a large degree of customisation and testified to a broad and inspiring view of the assignment within the urban fabric of the Museum Quarter and the city.

Floris Alkemade, substantive chairman of the assessment committee: “The selected firms each presented a beautiful and in-depth vision and approach for the role and future of the TextielMuseum and the Mommerskwartier. Mecanoo succeeded in demonstrating the surprising possibilities throughout the transformation with conviction and inspiration. With Mecanoo's story and involvement, a desire for that transformation is evoked, a wonderful start of a process that will undoubtedly never be easy, but it is constantly relevant and constructive.”

Errol van de Werdt, director of the TextielMuseum: “The museum building no longer meets the needs of visitors and the makers of today and tomorrow. A renovation enables us to realise our ambitions, creating a place where everyone - from young to old and from professional maker to visitor - can discover, make, learn and meet. Moreover, we see a great opportunity in this way to be a catalyst in the development of the Museum Quarter into the next bustling district of Tilburg.”

The TextielMuseum is convinced that the collaboration will contribute to the goal of astonishing as many people as possible with textiles. Textiles play a role in everyone's life: it is all around us at all times. The museum wants to provide space for the growing number of visitors and creators, improve the public experience, add new family offerings and improve the exhibition spaces. In this way, Tilburg becomes a textile city that can be experienced: previously, in the present and in the future. The museum is working towards 100,000 visitors a year. By opening up the museum grounds further to partners and local residents, a dynamic meeting place and place of significance for the city is created.

* The sketch presented is a premilinary reflection of the importance of the connections between the TextielMuseum monumental buildings and the surrounding areas in the city/neighborhoods. Images 3 and 4 copyright by Willeke Machiels. 

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