Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

The measure of: Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

Image credit: MVRDV

A Dutch Museum is the world’s first to open its storage to the public, putting its entire collection on view.

Glass display cases filled with artworks take centre stage in the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, an art storage building designed by local architectural firm MVRDV, which is now open to the public in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The purpose-built depot, which has a new, permanent artwork by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist projected onto its side, is the first of its kind, and art lovers will have access to the museum’s full 151,000-piece collection – including works by the likes of Leonora Carrington and Salvador Dalì that usually remain off view.

The works are hung in pull-out storage shelves, which visitors can use to view the works at close quarters. There are also screening booths to view the digitised film library, and space which can be rented by private collections.

The building has an unusual circular form and a mirrored facade. As a result, it reflects its green surroundings and almost disappears.

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen - Inline

Image credit: ,

The architects designed the Depot building to be highly sustainable. It is constructed from sustainably sourced materials, such as recycled aggregates in the concrete. The building uses a ground-coupled heat exchanger, contains a new system for climate control and has rainwater storage that provides water for the roof garden and for flushing the toilets.

It is also equipped with LED lighting and waterless urinals, and the roof has been planted with trees (birches and pine trees), grasses and sedum plants. Solar panels supply the building with electricity.

Vital statistics

Height: 39.5m

Diameter: 40m (bottom) and 60m (top)

Floor area: 15,541m2

Climate zones: 5

Professional restoration studios: 4

Capacity of rooftop restaurant: 120 seats

Storage that can be rented for private and institutional collections: 1,900m2

Overall area of glass on the exterior: 6,609m2

Mirrored panels: 1,664

Number of artworks from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and private and corporate collections for which the Depot offers space: +151,000

Paintings, photographs, films, and objects: 63,000

Prints and drawings: 88,000

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