Neutelings Riedijk Architects designed the ‘MUSEUM AAN DE STROOM ‘ in Antwerp, Belgium.
Description from the architects:
The Eilandje [The Islet]
The new MAS | Museum aan de Stroom [Museum by the River] is located in the centre of the district called ‘Eilandje’, the old harbour district by the centre of the old city. This district was originally called ‘Nieuwstad [New City]’, as it was the first city expansion constructed by land speculator and urban developer Gilbert van Schoonbeke (1519-1556) outside the Spanish fortress belt in the sixteenth century. The name Eilandje stems from the fact that this area was surrounded by water on four sides, so that it actually was an island when the bridges were up.
In the old days, the Hansahuis or Oosterhuis stood where MAS stands now. This was the economic seat and warehouse of the Hansa towns in Antwerp built in 1568. It was one of the most important buildings in the city for three centuries, until it burned down in 1893. An extensive archaeological study was made by the City archaeological department before construction of the MAS begun, during which the old foundations were mapped.
The old docks
The Willemdok and the Bonapartedok are the two oldest harbour docks of Antwerp, dug in the beginning of the eighteenth century under the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte and King Willem I. Since the Hansahuis was too important to be demolished, a spit of land remained between the docks, which is the central location where the MAS stands today.
Due to the withdrawal of the harbour activities to bigger harbours north of the city, the once so lively harbour district degenerated and was depopulated. The city has worked very hard on urban development upgrading in the past ten years. The selection of the location for the MAS was therefore a conscious choice as leverage in urban regeneration. Urban regeneration is currently in full swing and the district is regaining its liveliness.
The future of the Eilandje
In the meantime, several large public functions have been added to the Eilandje such as the Flemish Ballet Company, the City archive in the Felixpakhuis and the future migration museum in the old Red Star Line buildings. Old warehouses are being converted into lofts everywhere, and new apartment buildings such as the Koninklijk Entrepot by Berlin architect Hans Kolhoff, the residential towers by Swiss architects Diener en Diener and the towers by David Chipperfield and Guyer en Gigon, as well as many projects yet to follow, are being erected. The estimate is that 5000 new residents will move to the Eilandje in the next few years.
Outdoor construction around the MAS
The quays round the old docks have been renovated on the basis of an idea of French landscape architect Michel Desvigne. An underground car park has been constructed under the Godefriduskaai so that the quays are now car-free walking areas with restaurants and terraces. A few years ago, the Willemdok was turned into a yacht harbour for visitors passing through Antwerp. The Bonapartedok will be converted into a museum dock with historical ships in the next few years.
|Firms||Neutelings Riedijk Architects|
|Project Architect||Willem Jan Neutelings and Michiel Riedijk|
|Area||gross floor 20,000 m2|
|Photograph||Sarah Blee (exterior) and Scagliola / Brakkee (interior)|