Royal Museum of Fine Arts

Location
Antwerp, BE
Client
Vlaamse Overheid (Flemish government) / Fonds Culturele Infrastructuur (FoCI) FoCI
Initiated
2003
Completion
2020
Size
23.500sqm (phase 1) / 29.500sqm (phase 2)
Project Team, Photos & Collaborators
Maicol Cardelli, Sebastian van Damme, Katarzyna Ephraim, Paolo Faleschini, Raluca Firicel, Michael Geensen, Narine Gyulkhasyan, Walter Hoogerwerf, Marco Jongmans, Giuseppe Mazzaglia, Laura Ospina, Maurizio Papa, Ismael Planelles Naya, Giacomo Rizzi, Koen van Tienen, Niels Vernooij

Photos
Toon Grobet, Karin Borghouts

Collaborators
Royal HaskoningDHV (advisor construction, technical installation, physics) Bureau Bouwtechniek (management, physics) Architectenbureau Fritz (restoration advisor)

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp was built as a part of the 19th-century expansion of the city centre. During the 20th century, the building underwent many haphazard changes – courtyards were covered, windows closed off, new walls added – disrupting the logical routing of the original whole. This intervention aims to reverse the spatial changes by combining a thorough renovation of the historic with an addition of a new ‘vertical’ museum. A complete overhaul of the old building restores the intrinsic qualities of the space by reinstating original colors, materials and routing within the historic halls. Meanwhile, hidden in the heart of the old building, a new vertical museum arises, offering a contrasting spatial experience. Through a sequence of large and small exhibition halls, hidden rooms, horizontal and vertical sightlines and varying gradations of daylight, the new extension charts a route full of surprising experiences. The historical and the new museum function as separate entities, coexisting as two different worlds in one building.