New Museum MORE wins rave reviews for Hans van Heeswijk Architects’ less-is-more approach

New Museum MORE, designed by Hans van Heeswijk Architects to showcase the Netherlands’ biggest collection of modern realist art, opened on 2 June 2015 to enthusiastic reviews, with critics praising its light but exuberant minimalist architecture. The museum, an extension of Gorssel’s former town hall, is a private initiative and has been completed to the highest standards in a record time of just three years.

The Netherland’s biggest collection of modern realism

In 2012, Hans Melchers, the initiator of Museum MORE, decided to display his collection of modern Dutch realist art (acquired following the demise of DS Art BV) in the Achterhoek, a region in the east of the Netherlands bordering Germany. His eye soon fell on the former town hall of Gorssel (available thanks to a municipal merger with Lochem). Hans van Heeswijk Architects, known for the acclaimed Hermitage Amsterdam museum and the recent successful expansion of the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, was recruited to design an impressive lobby and seven spacious exhibition halls for the new museum. As the building progressed, the collection expanded thanks to the acquisition of additional works by Arnout Killian, Carel Willink and others. The public has not seen most of the works in the collection since 2009. From 2 June 2015, the Netherlands’ biggest collection of modern realism will again be on show, and is expected to attract a wide audience.

A pavilion in a park

The historic part of the building, dating from 1914, has been renovated to become a museum café and event hall. The new museum structure is characterised by strategic sightlines that make the most of the park-like setting, blending inside and outside in a seamless whole. Besides exhibiting parts of the permanent collection, the building also offers space for exhibitions, administrative offices and a restoration workshop. The museum has an inviting appearance, clear layout and a surprisingly light, airy quality of space. In it, Van Heeswijk repeats his distinctive use of natural materials like stone, glass and steel.

 

Praise from the critics

 

Monumental Modernism

Just as in his expansion of the Mauritshuis in The Hague last year, Van Heeswijk succeeded to blend in Museum MORE his minimalist ‘less is more’ architecture with the monumental existing brick architecture. Also in MORE there is a lot of glass (…). Not only the facade of the entrance hall is glass from floor to ceiling, but also the railings, elevator and even the steps of the staircase to the exhibition rooms on the first floor. The walls of the exhibition halls seem to float above the stainless steel plinths that have been slightly recessed. The walls are modernist white, except for a bright orange one. But as a counterbalance to the neutral walls and thin glass architecture, Van Heeswijk has also given MORE plenty of heavy elements. For example, all exterior walls and part of the interior walls are lined with beige French limestone and the floor of the joyous entrance hall is of black stone. They give the new building a monumentality that rivals that of the old town hall of Gorssel.

NRC Handelsblad, Bernard Hulsman, May 31, 2015

 

A Museum Without Fuss that Serves the Collection

For sure a successful new building. It consists of three wings, divided into two floors, like a slide-stepped gable with high windows on the long side, on the south side flanked by a monumental hall with the paintings by Willink. There is glass at knee height and there are glimpses of the lawns; the plinths are the same as those in Hermitage Amsterdam. It’s spacious, quiet, and free from ego and further fuss. A museum that is designed to serve the collection.

de Volkskrant, Stefan Kuiper, May 30, 2015

 

More information: http://www.heeswijk.nl/eng/projecten/openbaregebouwen/16.MmR/16.MmR.html

 

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