Photo © Rob Hoekstra

Hermitage Amsterdam

Hans van Heeswijk Architects

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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Client: Stichting Hermitage aan de Amstel (

Completion Date: June 2009

Program: A 161,459-square-foot, three-level museum on the Amstel, housed in a former nursing home from the 17th century. With exhibition galleries, an auditorium, lecture halls, a restaurant, shops, and a children's center—all organized around a central courtyard—the new museum establishes a presence for Russia's Hermitage Museum in the Netherlands.

Design Concept and Solution: The architects set out to transform the dark, fortress-like nursing home into a bright and open modern museum. Leaving the brick facade of the Dutch classicist building intact, they stripped out many of the low ceilings and bending hallways to reveal the logic of the building: four wings boxing in the central courtyard. The north and south wings became double-height exhibition halls, ringed by smaller galleries converted from bedrooms. Around the courtyard, an inner ring of bedrooms gave way to a light-filled corridor whose long sight lines make the floor plan intuitive for visitors. In the eastern wing, a triple-height atrium houses the museum's public spaces, including the restaurant and café, and culminates in a glassed-in conference room on the top floor. The Hans van Heeswijk team kept the palette of materials clean and modern, with a mixture of granite and oak flooring punctuated by glass staircases and elevators.

Total construction cost: €42 million (including installations; excluding VAT)

Hans van Heeswijk Architects
Ertskade 111
1019 BB Amsterdam
Phone +31 (0)20 622 57 17
Fax +31 (0)20 38 284

December 2010
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