Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Street Facade

Street facade detail

Entrance excavation
Interior corrugated light wall
The Kunsthal by Rem Koolhaas and OMA, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, defies many conventional typologies of a museum. By nature the Kunsthal, is not a typical museum because it contains no permanent collection and is essentially a rotating exhibition hall. Reacting to this programmatic nuance, Koolhaas’ material palette is diverse and responds to every aspect of the site. There are no solid walls to hide the collections at the Kunsthal; instead each façade incorporates large amounts of glass- opening the museum to the public. On the street façade, Koolhaas uses steel, glass, beams, concrete, and travertine to react to its urban condition. The large entrance excavation through the museum has two functions, to navigate the sloping site, and to link the park to the street. The park façade also reacts differently to its site-large expanses of glass and travertine blur the boundaries between nature and gallery. While the materials and internal circulation are working really well, the entrance is a disaster. By combining the entrance and exit into one small opening the museum goer is trampled with a barrage of exiters and enterers. That aside the subtle link between the inside and outside is very nice, tree columns and tree hand rails are striking against slick glass, and cold metal. Rem even pays homage to Mies by placing a non load bearing orange I-beam across the top of the building.

Robbie Eleazer

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