Built-in the 19th century, Antwerp's Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA) was conceived as a 'daylight museum' but underwent many haphazard changes over the centuries. This intervention brings back the museum's ancient grandeur by combining a thorough renovation of the historical building with a contemporary extension concealed within the existing structure. Original dark pink, green and red colours, tall columns, and ceiling ornaments in plasterwork are brought back in the 19th-century exhibition halls. Meanwhile, the new vertical museum arises as a completely autonomous entity, built within the four original patios. Wherever the new extension 'cuts' the museum's solid mass, subtle marble inlays have been added. The vertical museum charts a route full of surprises with bright white exhibition halls, hidden rooms, long staircases, far-reaching sightlines, and varying gradations of daylight. These contrasting yet dialoguing entities coexist as two different worlds in one building, both challenging and at the service of the art.
Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA)
Surface area sqm
Management: Bureau Bouwtechniek, KAAN Architecten Structural/MEP engineer: Royal Haskoning DHV Lights and acoustics: Royal Haskoning DHV, KAAN Architecten Physics and fire control: Royal Haskoning DHV, Bureau Bouwtechniek, KAAN Architecten Restauration advisor: Architectenbureau Fritz Contractor: THV Artes Roegiers – Artes Woudenberg
Sebastian van Damme