Building

The collection is housed in an industrial building constructed in 1926 which covers a total surface of 3500 m². A concrete skeleton divides the volume in two large open spaces, topped by an authentic pointed wooden roof. The museum consists of three separate floors and a mezzanine. In the part of the building above the entrance hall, there are five self contained spaces where separate installations can be exhibited. There is also a spacious project room, constructed in 1942 and arched by a concrete barrel vault.

Between February 2005 and July 2006, the architecture studio Robbrecht & Daem from Ghent executed the structural renovation of the site and the building of a partially new construction. The architects opted for a very modest approach for which they took as their basic principle: ‘Im Mittelpunkt Kunst’.

Architect Paul Robbrecht:

‘Right from the very first visit to the old warehouse, it was clear that this location held sufficient opportunities and intrinsic power to house the collection. By cutting away the surplus of walls and floors and playing a game of old and new walls, a subtle variation of large and flexible spaces was created which was perfect for the rather sizeable works. In order to leave the existing buildings as untouched as possible, it was decided that all new technical and sanitary facilities would be constructed in the heart of the museum as a new volume, one that served to link up all other spaces. This linking volume allows for the communication between the two existing halls to pass through new and much more intimate rooms (the cabinets). The transition from open spaces to secure rooms, from old to new, from rough to soft, together with the stairs, the windows and the vistas, makes the building ever so much surprising and full of possibilities for permanent and temporary exhibitions’.