Museums and exhibition buildings
Herman Hertzberger’s new premises for the former Van Reekum Museum and the municipal archives combine with two older cultural institutions - Ruijssenaars’ library and Uytenhaak’s cultural centre - as a new and readily identifiable cultural urban block. The museum new-build follows the contours of the available rectangular plot and is attached by a footbridge to the existing library, some of whose functions it takes over. At the heart of the block is a new public plaza that links arms with the existing monumental steps leading up to Uytenhaak’s cultural centre. The public spaces of the museum occupy the transparent basement. The archives present a sealed cornice atop this cultural display case. In the older library, light penetration is the principal theme. On entering, visitors are drawn to a well-lit interior zone from where they proceed along a toplit corridor to the book stacks assembled in a somewhat darker in-between area. Book in hand, the visitor then heads towards the much brighter zone of tables along the facade. The loadbearing structure consists of a network of brickwork piers and arched concrete beams laid breadthways. The House for Fine Arts, Uytenhaak’s cultural centre, boasts a complex programme of performing arts and education plus an art lending library. Its two entwined volumes - one stepping up, the other a horizontal prism - represent the two principal directions on site.