Museums and art galleries typically only display a fraction of their stock at any one time, with the rest locked firmly behind closed doors where it's stored and restored. In what it says is the first project of its kind, Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has been given the go ahead for a new public art depot that offers visitors insight into this off-limits area of the art world.
Resembling an oversized mixing bowl, the building, also referred to as Collectiegebouw, will sport a mirrored facade and be topped by a sculpture park and restaurant. In a nice touch, the trees currently occupying the site will be replanted up on the roof, which is free to access and reached via elevator.
Around 75,000 works of art are due to be stored within the new art depot's total floorspace of 14,000 sq m (150,694 sq ft), and there will also be some gallery space available to rent to private collectors. On buying a ticket, visitors will be able to either take a tour or wander freely throughout much of the building, checking out the stored artworks, in addition to education spaces, galleries, and see experts busying themselves restoring pieces of art.
"They will be able to see the collection depots through windows like a peep show," says Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. "Those who wish to visit the depots can pay for a group guided tour, during which they will see all aspects of the collection ranging from medieval panel paintings to contemporary photography and installations and from robust sculptures to the most delicate porcelain."
MVRDV excels most when it takes big chances, like the wonderful Glass Farm and Markthal projects, for example. It's still too early to tell whether the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Public Art Depot in Rotterdam's Museumpark will reach these heights, but it's certainly daring.
Collectiegebouw is slated to open in late 2018 and has a working budget of €50 million (around US$53 million).