New subterranean volume links 17th-century building and Art Deco form in The Hague
I.M. Pei’s Louvre in Paris and the Apple Store in New York by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Eckersley O’Callaghan Structural Design provided initial points of inspiration for the design team at Hans van Heeswijk Architects in Amsterdam when presented with the opportunity to work on a challenging project at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague. The institution displays a collection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings.
The first visitors have now been welcomed into the Mauritshuis museum as part of the official opening weekend on 28 June. Hans van Heeswijk Architects’ design, which stitches together the existing 17th-century building and an Art Deco form across the road with a subterranean daylit volume, was realised in the space of two years. The original Mauritshuis museum has also undergone a renovation of its own.
“New buildings tend to be designed as sculptural, trendy icons these days,” explains Hans van Heeswijk. “That makes them attractive at first, but after a short while they also get outdated. A museum building however, needs to be functional and its architecture should stay attractive in a sustainable way for years to come.”
One of the most remarkable elements of the design is a lift made entirely of structural glass with no supporting steel structure, which transports visitors from ground level to the subterranean spaces below. This lift and the staircase that runs alongside it are the main access points to the newly opened museum as the main door to the Mauritshuis museum building is to be used only during special events and for the movement of oversized artworks to maintain a rigorously-controlled internal climate.
As visitors descend into the underground space they are met with a grand entrance foyer, lit by glass floor panels and windows on both sides of the hall. This spacious volume connects the 17th-century Mauritshuis museum on the left and the Art Deco Plein 26 building to the far end.
Client: Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis Foundation
Architect: Hans van Heeswijk Architects, Amsterdam
Mauritshuis restoration design: Askon Eden, The Hague
Interior design: Stephanie Gieles Interieurontwerp, Delft
Signage: Reynoud Homan, Muiderberg
Constructional consultants: ABT, Delft
M&E-Installation consultants: Arup, Amsterdam
Building physics consultants: DPA Cauberg-Huygen, Den Bosch
Lighting consultants: Hans Wolff & Partners / Lighting Designers, Amsterdam
Building superintendents: Hans van Heeswijk Architects, Amsterdam and ABT, Delft
Budgetary management: Basalt bouwadvies, Nieuwegein
Principal building contractor: Royal Woudenberg, Ameide
Foundations contractor: Volker Staal en Funderingen, Rotterdam
M&E Installations contractor: Kropman Installatietechniek, Rijswijk
Security installations: Siemens, The Hague
Lifts: Mitsubishi Elevator Europe, Veenendaal
Forecourt lift shaft: Octatube, Delft
Interior elements: Van der Plas Meubel & Project, Den Bosch