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Arantza Álvarez
6 septiembre 2013

Seville-based architects Cruz and Ortiz fill Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum with light.

The Seville-based architecture studio Cruz y Ortiz Arquitectos is behind the spectacular transformation of a 19th C building to a modern 21st C museum. The new Rijksmuseum has received a new wide and light-filled entrance, a new pavilion and splendid renovated galleries.  

© Pedro Pegenaute (Image courtesy of Rijksmuseum)

The original architect of this richly decorated national monument was Pierre Cuypers. The recent enlargement fell under the direction of Cruz y Ortiz Arquitectos and was carried out with the collaboration of the specialist restoration firm Van Hoogevest. The French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte designed the galleries’ new interiors.

Cruz and Ortiz’s guiding principle for the new Rijksmuseum was ‘Cuypers for the 21st century’ and main focusses were the restoration of the original building, the creation of new spaces and the harnessing of natural light.

© Iwan Baan (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

© John Lewis (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

© Jannes Linders (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

Cruz and Ortiz have converted a series of patios to an beautiful new glass-enclosed vestibule known as the Atrium.

© Pedro Pegenaute (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

The rich original decoration on the walls and ceilings has been given a new life under the supervision of Van Hoogevest.

© Jannes Linders (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

The French architect  Jean – Michel Wilmotte, best known for his work on the Louvre, was put in the charge of the galleries interiors. He designed an elegant set of exhibition furniture and lighting scheme, as well as choosing the palette of colours, which was inspired by the original.  

© Iwan Baan (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

© Iwan Baan (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

Surrounded by water, the new Asian Pavilion is made of Portuguese stone and glass and is characterised by multiple stacked surfaces with unusual angles. It holds a rich collection of over 350 pieces of art hailing from China, Japan, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and Thailand, some of which dates from 2,000 BC.

© Erik Smits (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

The project also includes an ‘open-air museum’. This landscaped space on the exterior of the edifice was devised by Copijn and is based on an original design from Cuypers. The gardens have many original elements, such as classical statues, fragments and historic adornments. A fountain, work of the designer Jeppe Hein, and a 19th C glasshouse and a children’s playground by Aldo van Eyck all feature in the ‘museum’. An exhibition of the work of Henry Moore will be on show till 29 September, the first of many international sculpture exhibitions that will take place here this year.

The main collection has also had an overhaul. For the first time, visitors can see it in a chronological format. Over 80 galleries, 8,000 works of art represent 800 years of Dutch art. Paintings, engravings, drawings, photographs, silverware, porcelain, Delft ceramicware, furniture, jewellery, weapons, costume and many other objects are presented together for the first time.

© Iwan Baan (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

Over 30 galleries present the Golden Age, when the young merchant republic led the world in trade, science, the military and art. The Gallery of Honor is in situated in the heart of the museum. Beautifully restored, it holds works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Jan Steen.

© Iwan Baan (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

© “The Milkmaid” Johannes Vermeer (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

The Gallery of Honour steers visitors to the space Cuypers designed especially for Rembrandt’s masterwork: The Night Watch.

© Iwan Baan (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

The galleries presenting 20th century art are totally new, and exhibit painting, furniture, photography, cinema and other media of the period.

© Iwan Baan (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

Arup, with Roya Haskoning / Van Heugten snd DGMR, were behind the design of the mechanical and electrical engineering and lighting of the building, which is considered one of Amsterdam’s main tourist attractions.

The project was sponsored by PhilipsBankGiro LotteryING and KPN. The restoration of Cuypers original colours was carried out by AKZO Nobel/Sikkens

© Iwan Baan (Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)

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