After over a decade spent redesigning and restoring the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam’s famous building reopened its doors on April 13. For the first time in its long history, both the building and the way its collection is displayed have been totally transformed, with Spanish practice Cruz y Ortiz acting as the project’s lead architects.
Originally designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers, the Rijksmuseum opened in 1885 and is the most famous museum in the Netherlands. Having been open for over 125 years without interruption, the monumental building was in drastic need of refurbishment. The Dutch government made the decision to carry this out in 2000, and Seville-based practice Cruz y Ortiz was commissioned to transform the building.
In close collaboration with Dutch restoration architect Van Hoogevest, Cruz y Ortiz has transformed this 19th-century building into a luminous, more open space appropriate to the 21st century. The Spanish practice’s new scheme includes a spectacular new entrance called the Atrium, an Asian Pavilion and a new building that serves as a service entrance where visitors can enjoy state-of-the-art facilities: a shop, café, auditorium and a restored library. Cruz y Ortiz also designed the Workshops Building, which opened in 2007 and houses the Rijksmuseum’s restoration workshops. In addition to the Rijksmuseum’s impressive refurbishment, its world-famous collection has been rearranged, showing it in a completely fresh light. Visitors are now taken on a walk through the history of art from that of the Low Countries in the Middle Ages to the 20th century.
Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz began working together as architects in 1971; since then they have contributed to the redesign of such emblematic buildings as the Spanish Pavilion at Expo 2000 held in Hanover, Seville’s Cartuja stadium (1999) and extension of Basel’s SBB Railway Station (2003), among other projects. The practice is currently working on the new Atlético de Madrid stadium, due for completion in 2016. This can potentially serve as a new Olympic stadium should Madrid win the bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.