Exhibition house in Amsterdam

July 5th, 2018

The building is a small exhibition house in Amsterdam, located between the Weterinschans and the big canal facing the Rijksmuseum’s entrance. The old street is characterized mainly by traditional brick houses with large openings, big villas on the water side and a converted church.

The design is related to the site: the exhibition space and the common services are open towards the canal, while looking from the street the building seems wrapped in a tough shell made of bricks. While the direct light comes from both the top and the southern part on the facade, it creates a luminous box where pieces from the collection can be exhibited and from which visitors can have a panoramic view to the water. The openings on the north, east and west facades are designed as volumes-in and volumes-out, shaping the inner space and improving the exhibition atmosphere with indirect light.

The core of the building is a secret courtyard, placed exactly in the middle of the plan and accessible only from the ground floor, and yet visible from openings in the upper galleries; a white concrete, double staircase is inserted in the simple volume of the core, allowing the distribution to all the spaces of the building. The last two ramps lead the visitors to the roof, which is open both to the street and to the canal and gives a new point of view to the surroundings. The exhibition space and the staircase are a strong guidance around the central core all the way through each of the art pieces.

From the Weterinschans a path along the west side of the building introduces visitors to the entrance, which is not directly on the street but is facing the canal in the south, creating a more private space by using the natural environment of the garden together with the water. A connection from the core to the outside, passing from the filtering space of the entrance, is clearly obtained.

Erica Cantaluppi

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