Archive for ‘Neutelings Riedijk Architects’

May 25, 2011

MAS (Museum aan de Stroom), Antwerp, Belgium | Neutelings Riedijk Architects

Museum aan de Stroom in Antwerp, Belgium by Neutelings Riedijk Architects (Photo: Sarah Blee / © Neutelings Riedijk Architects)

Evening View East (Photo: Sarah Blee / © Neutelings Riedijk Architects

all drawings/pics is © Neutelings Riedijk Architects.

The new Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS), designed by Rotterdam-based Neutelings Riedijk Architects as a sixty-meter-high tower landmark in Antwerp, Belgium, has recently been completed. During one week in May, the public could visit the new building on guided tours. Now the MAS will be closed for another year to move the collection and set up the exhibitions. Official opening is foreseen in Spring 2011.

MAS seeks to become a contemporary museum of, for and about the city and the world. Visitors will discover how Antwerp and the world have been indisputably linked with one another for hundreds of years. In it, they will recognize hand prints as the traces left by others among us, and vice versa, they will understand Antwerp’s imprint on the world. The new museum gathers ethnological, maritime, ethnic and art historic collections in a new surprising story, so MAS announces.

Following is a description of the museum we received from Neutelings Riedijk Architects:


The new museum is between the old docks in the heart of “Het Eilandje”. This old port area is the major urban renewal project in the center of Antwerp and is developing as a vibrant new city district.


The MAS is designed as a sixty-meter-high tower. Ten gigantic natural stone boxes are piled up as a physical demonstration of the gravity of history, full of historical objects that our ancestors left behind. It is a storehouse of history in the heart of the old docks.

Each floor of the tower is twisted a quarter turn, so that creates a huge spiral staircase. This spiral space, which is bordered by a wall of corrugated glass, is a public city gallery. A route of escalators carry visitors up from the square to the top of the tower. The spiral tower tells the story of the city, its port, and its inhabitants.

At each floor the visitor can enter the museum hall and go into the history of the dead city, while on his way to top breathtaking panoramas of the living city itself unfolds. At the top of the tower are a restaurant, a party room and a panoramic terrace, where the present is celebrated and the future planned.


Façades, floors, walls and ceilings of the tower were completely covered with large slabs of red Indian sandstone hand cleaved, making the image of a monumental stone sculpture. The four colors of the stone slabs based on a computerized pattern are dividend on the façade.

The spiral gallery is lined with a huge curtain of corrugated glass. With its play of light and shadow, transparency and translucency of the undulating glass facade brings a lighthearted counterweight to the gravity of the stone sculpture.

To soften the monumental tower volume a pattern of metal ornaments has been put like a veil over the façade. The ornaments are shaped like hands, the logo of the City of Antwerp. Inside the building, this pattern continued through metal medallions, molded by a design of Tom Hautekiet with a text of Tom Lanoye.


The Museum square at the foot of the tower is an integral part of the design. The square is decorated in the same red stone as the tower and surrounded by pavilions and terraces, as an urban space for events and outdoor exhibitions. The central part of the square is half sunken and forms a framework for a large mosaic of Luc Tuymans.

Project Details:
Program: New Development | Museum for City History Antwerp, Museum, Restaurant, Party Room, Pavilions, Plaza
Surface area: 19,557 m2 Floor surface, 11,415 m2 Outdoor construction
Construction costs: € 33.409.000 (including construction of the pavilions and plaza, excluding design, scenography, VAT, fees and indexing)
Location: Hanzestedenplaats | 2000 Antwerp | Belgium
Design: International Competition | 1st Prize | April 2000
Start construction: October 2006
Realization: February 2010
Architectural design: Neutelings Riedijk Architects | Rotterdam | The Netherlands

here is the ARCHITECTURAL RECORD article:

Client: City of Antwerp in cooperation with AG Vespa

Completion Date: February 2010

Program: A ten-story, 210,510-square-foot museum of the city of Antwerp, with exhibition galleries, a restaurant, an event space, and a panoramic terrace, as well as a plaza that includes a museum shop and a mosaic by Luc Tuymans. The project is part of the renewal of the city’s once-busy harbor district, which now includes residential towers, the city archive, and the ballet.

Design Concept and Solution: The architects wanted to design a monument to Antwerp’s history while spotlighting the city in its present form. Shaping the museum like a monolithic sculpture, they cantilevered all ten stories and rotated each of them a quarter turn, like steps in a spiral staircase. To extend the sculptural metaphor they selected a tactile cladding—red sandstone from India, hand-cut and unpolished—and countered its heft with a facade of corrugated glass that spans the gaps created by the cantilevers. The glass-and-sandstone facade forms a kind of vertical gallery with views overlooking the city. Visitors ascending the gallery on escalators can cycle through a short exhibition telling the story of Antwerp; those who venture into the heart of the museum receive the full version as they pass through a series of black-box rooms featuring exhibits and audiovisual displays.

Total construction cost: € 33.4 million


City of Antwerp in cooperation with AG Vespa

Neutelings Riedijk Architects
P.O. Box 527
3000 AM Rotterdam
The Netherlands
Phone +31 (0)10 404 66 77
Fax +31 (0)10 414 27 12

Personnel in architect’s firm who should receive special credit:
Architectural design: Neutelings Riedijk Architects | Rotterdam | The Netherlands

Structural design: Bureau Bouwtechniek | Antwerp | Belgium

Constructive design: ABT België | Antwerp | Belgium

Building physics: Peutz bv ingenieuze adviseurs | Mook | The Netherlands

Installation design: Marcq & Roba | Brussels | Belgium

Fire safety: IFSET International Fire Safety Engineering Technology | Asse | Belgium

Medallions: Tom Lanoye (text) and Tom Hautekiet (design) | Berchem | Belgium

Plaza mosaic: Luc Tuymans | Antwerp | Belgium

General contractor: 
THV MAS | Antwerp
Cordeel (
Interbuild (
Willemen (

Photographer(s): Sarah Blee , Scagliola/Brakkee


Nature stone: BTA (
Gillet – Loveld (

Curved glass: Sunglass (

Precast architecture concrete: Prefadim (

Concrete cast on site: Casais (

Foundation: Franki (

Wooden flooring: Rudy de Keyser Wood Industry (

Coraco, Gielissen Neos (
Labo Potteau (
L&Z (
ATM Maaseik (

Heating / cooling: Imtech (

Electricity: Evip (

Sanitary: de Bie & Veba (

Lifts: Coopman (

Escalator: Kone (