OMA follows up Kunsthal art robbery with major security and layout improvements
News: Rem Koolhaas' OMA has completed an extensive renovation and security upgrade at the architect's career-defining Kunsthal gallery in Rotterdam, following the major robbery last year that saw paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Monet stolen.
Twenty-two years after completing the exhibition venue in its home city, OMA returned to improve the energy efficiency of the building, rework some of the circulation routes and implement new security measures to prevent further break-ins.
"The renovation demonstrates the possibility of updating the building to meet contemporary requirements, whilst retaining the original concept of an exhibition machine," said OMA partner Ellen van Loon, who led the project.
The refurbishment included adding a second entrance, making it possible to access auditorium and exhibition spaces independently.
Existing reception, restaurant and shop areas were integrated into the main route through the building, which OMA says "will enable the Kunsthal to evolve with the growing need for economic independence of cultural institutions".
High-performance insulation materials were installed around the iconic glass facades and the roof, while other improvements include energy-efficient lighting, climate-regulating systems and sub-dividing partitions.
Completed in 1992, the Kunsthal was one of Rem Koolhaas' first major projects and was celebrated for its flexible exhibition spaces. However, the architecture came under fire in 2012 when the theft of seven major paintings was blamed on the open-plan layout of the gallery's interiors.
Photography is by Richard John Seymour and Ossip Van Duivenbode.