Frame #93 – July / Aug 2013 issue of this Dutch design magazine (text in English) features the Rijksmuseum, recently reopened after a ten-year closure for extensive renovations and restorations.
One of the challenges faced by Cruz y Ortiz, the Spanish architecture firm responsible for the rebuilding part of this huge project, was that the museum functions not only as a building but also as a gateway between the old city and what was, at the time of its original construction in 1885, new development via a covered passageway. The architects reworked below-level spaces to form an underground courtyard, the new entrance to the museum called the Atrium. Antonio Ortiz: “This is not only the entrance to the museum but also a new meeting point for the city.”
Especially interesting is the bicycle path that runs through the museum, that original covered passageway. After a lot of public disagreement – the architects and the city wanted to minimize the bike path or even do away with it, but Amsterdammers rose up to argue for keeping it in its original form – the bicycle path was kept and now adds a distinctive and unusual feature to the museum experience. (see more photos of the bike path in action here)
From the cycle path, you look straight into the museum’s entrance hall through glass walls. Once inside, you look through the same walls at cyclists riding by, and what could possibly evoke a stronger image of Amsterdam?
The museum has good before and after photos of the building on its redesigned website, at Building and presentation.