Stedelijk Museum Schiedam is a municipal museum for modern art and owns a fine collection of works by artists such as Karel Appel, Lucebert, Constant and Corneille. MVRDV recently transformed this impressive museum in The Netherlands into an appealing space for displaying art as well as for relaxation. The focal point of the project is a neoclassical Giudici chapel, which until recently stood neglected. The transformation unites all the demanded programme in a series of large book shelves, which contain the reception desk, wardrobe, the museum store, the cafe counter and various spaces for displaying art.
Nathalie de Vries stated on behalf of MVRDV: “With one clear and monumental gesture, we have combined many functions whilst at the same time keeping the space as open and usable as possible. The design is respectful towards the impressive and grandiose yet at the same time austere chapel, whilst adding qualities the space lacked, providing new functions.” As the chapel is a listed monument, the transformation could not change the existing structure; according to the architects, the shelf is constructed in MDF and respectfully meanders around the historical elements such as windows and columns. Perforations in the backs of the shelves avoid problems with humidity. The higher shelves play an acoustic role whilst others highlight products by using built in LED armatures. [Photography: Daria Scagliola & Stijn Brakkee]
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests