"The gallery is a hidden place, a quiet place you have to discover. It’s all about the art, and the architecture helps you to discover the art." - Mels Crouwel
Museum De Pont is renovated and expanded with 1.100m2. Also, visitors to museum De Pont now enter the forecourt through the entrance gate, consisting of several interconnecting passages. The open structured passages, so called 'follies', each have their own specific function. The gate is part of the adaptation of the entire forecourt and was donated to the museum for their 20th anniversary by the municipality of Tilburg.
Expansion of the museum
The wing of the museum is added adjacent to the museum garden and hosts mainly film, photography and video art. The exhibition space is 20 by 27 meters. The hall now provides additional exhibition opportunities for the growing collection of the museum. The restaurant has an adjoining lounge - including a fireplace, which connects beautifully to the museum garden. The restaurant has been enlarged and has a central location between the old building and the added wing. The characteristic line of sight along the original outer wall of the museum remains intact and is well adapted to the current museum route. Because of top windows, which make the spaces spectacularly bright, the ceiling almost seems to levitate. The museum shop is enlarged and is connected to the library. The adjustments create a much more logical sequence of public functions: entrance hall, bookstore, library, restaurant, lounge with terrace and museum garden. One final project is delivered summer 2019: the small buildings on the street side of the museum are renovated and converted into functional, high quality studios. These versatile studio spaces are used by artists-in-residence and in future will also host various initiatives linked to the museum.
Already in 1990 the municipality of Tilburg commissioned an urban plan for this location, also with the goal to create a worthy entrance to the street. The urban plan has been executed in phases and characteristic gate has been made. The five follies share the same design idiom. The height of the follies is related to its surroundings and is determined by its functions: driveway for busses and cars, entrance for pedestrians and a bicycle parking station. The passages are made of concrete, in a cut-away diagonal structure, and are coated with a ceramic material. This durable material has the same industrial look as the expanded metal façade of the museum. The contours of the gate are an interpretation of the original buildings around the museum. There is also an adjusted layout for the car park, because of the increasing number of visitors. With the redesign, particularly the entrance gate, the original structure of the area is restored. Advertising facilities are integrated into the follies, as well as lighting, making the forecourt a pleasant area at night.
De Pont since 1992
Museum De Pont is located in a former wool mill. In 1990-1992 Benthem Crouwel Architects rebuilt the monumental factory from the thirties to a space where contemporary art can come into its own. The highlight of the factory is the large bright main hall - with on one side the intimate wool-storage rooms. In the hall are twelve skylights over the entire length of the building, which provide natural lighting and atmosphere in this unique space.
Interview with Mels Crouwel about Museum De Pont:
“In most art galleries, you have a sense of what to expect when you enter, since the halls are symmetrical and the route is predictable. In contrast, at Museum de Pont, visitors enter the foyer and are faced with a softly-lit 60 meter corridor ahead of them, ending in a garden. What kind of rooms lead off this corridor is unclear. There is a sense of anticipation, a sense of excitement. What surprises lie in wait? That was the emotion I hoped to elicit when I designed the corridor, making a completely new opening in an exterior wall to do so. Even when the museum renovates or changes exhibitions, the long corridor remains: it’s a vital element for us."
"Converted from a former wool factory, we wanted the museum to retain its sense of history in contrast to the clean, white aesthetic of a modern art gallery. The steel and glass ceiling, though unusually low for a gallery, was restored and kept: now, the light that flows through it casts unusual moving shadows on the Anish Kapoor works through the day, bringing them to life in a unique way. And the exterior brick walls, bearing signs of their age, have become part of the interior with an extension that includes a restaurant. The decision-making process when renovating was long. Deciding on the height of the interior walls alone took us two years of experiments. Unlike bustling urban galleries, where you feel yourself hurried and distracted by the din of other visitors, the Museum de Pont has become a refuge for reflection and the purest appreciation of art.”
De Pont stichting voor hedendaagse kunst
Benthem Crouwel Architects
Gross floor area
6661 m² (1st phase)
574 m² (2nd phase)
1.100 m² (3rd phase)
1989 (1st phase)
1999 (2nd phase)
2014 (3rd phase)
1991 (1st phase)
2002 (2nd phase)
2014 (3rd phase)
1992 (1st phase)
2003 (2nd phase)
2016 (3rd phase)