This September 25 to 27, 2020, the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen will open to the public. This will be the only chance for visitors to fully explore this unique building – including the roof garden with its view over Rotterdam – before it closes once more to enable the move of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum’s collection of more than 151,000 artworks into the building. The fully furnished and functioning building will open to the public in Autumn 2021.
The Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is designed by Rotterdam-based architecture firm MVRDV, led by Winy Maas. Once complete, it be a major architectural icon for the city of Rotterdam and also for The Netherlands. The Depot will demonstrate a new model for the exploration, discovery and interaction with museum collections. It will be the first museum storage facility in the world to offer public access to the largest part of the 151,000 artworks from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen collection without the mediation of a curator.
Located in Rotterdam’s Museumpark, next to the existing Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen building, the 39.5 meter-high circular-shaped building has a total floor area of 15,541 m2. The circular shaped building has a 40- meter diameter base widening to 60-meters span at the top to keep its footprint on the existent park to a minimum. The building will have five climate zones, each with its own individual climate environment, tailored to suit art works and their specific needs. A roof garden and café, planted with seventy-five birch trees suited to high altitude and able to withstand the wind and weather conditions at a height of 35+ meters, will be accessible to both visitors and members of the general public.
With the choice to enter with or without a guide, visitors will be able to become immersed in the world that until now has always remained behind the scenes for each museum. Visitors will witness at first hand the extreme care devoted to each artwork and the attention to detail that is dedicated to responsibilities such as conservation, restoration, transportation and research. The works of art in the depot will be seen with objects of the same material and – unlike in an art museum – will not be displayed on the basis of their art historical importance or in chronological order. Offering unparalleled transparency into the active role that a museum carries within society, into what it is that a museum does and how a museum cares for its extraordinary holdings, the new Depot is expected to attract approximately 90,000 visitors per year.
In addition to its role as the engine-room of the museum, the Depot in The Netherlands will have a commercial role. Part of the building (1,900 m2) can be rented as storage by private collectors, other museums or corporate collections such as that of KPN. Those renting within the depot will be offered the same services and level of professionalism as the museum gives its own collection. There will be a restaurant at the roof garden (sixth level), ticketed events, guided tours and a Depot shop.