National Glass Museum Holland by Bureau SLA

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National Glass Museum Holland by SLA Bureau

Dutch architects Bureau SLA have connected two houses in Leerdam, Holland, with four overlapping bridges to create a continuous gallery. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA Bureau

The National Glass Museum’s steel-frame bridges are clad in polycarbonate wrapped in aluminium mesh.

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA Bureau

Exhibition spaces are spread across both existing buildings and the bridges with 9000 objects on display in glass cabinets by Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek.

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA Bureau

Both buildings have been refurbished with one housing a restaurant and the other a library that doubles as staff offices.

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA Bureau

All photographs are taken by Jeroen Musch.

National Glass Museum Holland by Bureau SLA

Here's some more from the designers:


The New National Glass Museum in Leerdam

Once the villa on Lingedijk 30 had been acquired, bureau SLA were commissioned to turn the two buildings into a home for the National Glass Museum. It was suggested to turn Cochius’ former residence into an exhibition area and to use the second villa as offices, storage facilities and a cafeteria.

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA Bureau

Whilst this fulfilled functional requirements, it seemed like a missed opportunity to us at bureau SLA, as the new situation would appear to be not very different from the old one. The museum would have more space, indeed, but this would not be visible from the outside.

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA Bureau

So what would happen if we made both buildings fully accessible to the public? The museum’s employees could eat in the restaurant, the visitors could have full access to the collection of glass, including that in storage, and the administrative staff could work in the library. Furthermore, the exhibition rooms could be far more spacious. Instead of the small rooms of the existing villas, in which visitors need to climb up and down stairs all the time, circulation and exhibition spaces could to be much more generous.

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA Bureau

The four pedestrian bridges that bureau SLA designed draws everything together in an elegant manner. Visitors can idle through extensive rooms; only one lift is needed and an enormous amount of space is gained. The bridges serve as storage space in which all the museum’s objects are on display, in cases specifically designed for the museum by Piet Hein Eek.

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA Bureau

In the historical villas not much more needed to be done; they were elegant by themselves. Repairs were carried out where needed, with some later additions removed.

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA Bureau

The bridges were constructed from several layers of polycarbonate panels and covered by a translucent skin of grey, powder-coated, aluminium mesh. During the day they contrast sharply with the refined old villas, whereas at night they glow in reflection of the 9000 glass objects inside them.

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA

Click above for larger image

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA

Click above for larger image

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA

Click above for larger image

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA

Click above for larger image

National Glass Museum Holland by SLA

Click above for larger image


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  • Hallo

    Wow that is really nice. Love the way the building is lighted.

  • R..

    Interesting and well executed design.
    It's a strange paradox though to use polycarbonate for a glass museum.

    • z..

      disagree. if it were made of glass, it would be vying for status as a museum object. the "bridges" also work in this manner, in that they remove themselves from objecthood.

  • http://www.designrulz.com/ Design Rulz

    it looks very industrial, but it is a characteristic of this age [ glass age] and R. raised the question well

  • Felix

    aesthetically brilliant, old and new working so harmoniously

    would have been nice to have a photo of the stairs to see the rest of the circulation that people would use between bridges

    polycarbonate might not be glass but it's a good cost saving measure.

    • Davey

      "old and new working harmoniously"
      meh, more like contrasting interestingly. the beauty in this project is new life given to traditional buildings. We should be thankful the architects didn't try a more timid approach of trying to emulate the old buildings.

  • Marc

    I agree with R that it is a strange choice of material. Surely this would have been a great opportunity to celebrate the creative usage of glass in construction.

    However the project intelligently uses the existing buildings and the bridges create a fantastic journey around the museum.

  • http://www.pieterjan.biz pieterjan

    They would have to reinforce the structures of the existing buildings
    to much if they used glass.
    PC is a lot lighter.

  • http://www.eroticvikingfiction.blogspot.com Oscar

    Glass Museum?

    Damnit, is there anything Holland doesn't have?

  • http://lordofthereing Tasieobi chibuzor

    Interesting and well executed design,it’s a strange paradox though to use polycarbonate for a glass museum. OR How that is really nice. Luv the way the building is lighted. OR It lokr very industrial, but it is a chavacteristic of this age {glass age}and R.Raised the question well.

  • Llums

    beautiful at night with the light glowing through, ugly at daytime with the gray heavy looking industrial shapes.