Dezeen Magazine

MVRDV's Stedelijk Museum renovation makes way for the historical details says Nathalie de Vries

MVRDV's Nathalie de Vries explains how she used "a wallpaper" of storage and furnishings to transform a Neoclassical chapel into the entrance for the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, in the second in a series of exclusive movies profiling the Dutch studio's work.


MVRDV renovated the 18th century chapel in 2014, adding bright red shelves between the existing features to create a more accessible and user-friendly entrance to the modern art museum, which occupies a historic former infirmary in the Dutch town.

MVRDV Museum Schiedam

In this movie, filmed one year on by the firm, De Vries says the strategy was to develop a design that framed all of the remaining period features, meaning none of them needed to be removed or compromised.

"We didn't destroy any original stuff, and we even designed it in such a way that it just makes way for the historical details," she explains. "It keeps its original depth."

MVRDV Museum Schiedam

The red shelves cover all of the lower walls, as well as one full-height wall facing the entrance. They incorporate a reception desk, a cloakroom, a cafe and display areas. A gap was left around all of the existing features to differentiate between old and new.

"The raised walls are like a wallpaper and I think that's a very classical motif that you can use in these type of buildings," says De Vries.

"It feels like it's one big closet with objects from the museum shelf," adds Eva Nobbe, a museum visitor.

MVRDV Museum Schiedam

According to museum director Dianna Wind, the aim was to make the museum feel like part of the street. "We wanted to be more of a welcoming museum to the whole public, so we can be a part of the centre of Schiedam," she explains in the film.

Related content: see all our stories about MVRDV

The red colour was a significant change from the original interior, which was muted grey. But all of the new additions have been built from MDF and could potentially be removed in future, so there could be no objections.

"There hasn't been one person that said 'Well this is impossible, you may not do this with this building'", continues Wind. "This space is the heart of the building and it is also why we wanted to choose this colour."

MVRDV Museum Schiedam

Nathalie de Vries is one of the three founders of MVRDV, along with Winy Maas and Jacob van Rijs.

One of the studio's first major projects was Villa VPRO, a public broadcasting centre in Hilversum, while later well-known projects include the Glass Farm shop and office complex and the Markthal in Rotterdam.

In the first movie in this series, Maas explained how the firm's 2012 Spijkenisse library contained within a glass pyramid has become "a proud mountain of books".

Photography is by Daria Scagliola.