26/09 2022

A celebration of art and architecture decades in the making

On Saturday, 24 September 2022, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (KMSKA) reopened its doors to the public after a thorough eleven-year-long closure for renovation of the historical museum and contemporary extension completely concealed within the existing structure.

After winning an international competition in 2003 commissioned by the Flemish Government, we have worked intensively on the complex masterplan, renovation and extension of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (Belgium), also known as KMSKA (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen), to bring contemporary allure to a glorious, overlooked beauty of the 19th century. 

Guests can walk through an enfilade of exhibition rooms tinted in dark pink, green and red; oak doors, tall columns and ceiling ornaments in plasterwork convey a feeling of ancient grandeur.

Meanwhile, hidden in the heart of the old building, a new vertical museum arises as a completely autonomous entity built within the four original patios.

With bright white exhibition halls, hidden rooms, long staircases, far-reaching sightlines and varying gradations of daylight, the new museum charts a route full of surprising vertical experiences.

With the museum’s grand opening, the longest-running project of our office comes to a close. “The renovation was a unique experience, one that has not followed the usual paths of an architectural project in any way. A lot of people have contributed with their hands and head to a result we can now celebrate, and for which I owe everyone a lot of thanks,” says Dikkie Scipio, the founding partner in charge of guiding the masterplan of the renovation for the past two decades.

Explore the complete project here.

Photographs by Sebastian van Damme.