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State of the art steel exhibition walls for the Stedelijk Museum

Pien Niehe Pien Niehe Europe Press Office,Amsterdam
19 December 2017

Five years after its reopening, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum presented the new presentation of the museum’s permanent collection 'STEDELIJK BASE'. Arup delivered the structural design of extremely slender steel freestanding walls, in close collaboration with the museum and AMO/Rem Koolhaas with Federico Martelli.

Visitors can choose how to navigate the Stedelijk’s collection and make unexpected connections between art and design, modern and contemporary. We designed the structure of the freestanding walls and by using advanced calculation tools we minimised movement and vibration if somebody were to accidently come into contact with them. In total 180 tons of steel has been used, developed by Tata Steel Netherlands.

Vitrines and platforms have been integrated into several of the displays, allowing objects of different proportions and shapes to be displayed prominently.

In a productive collaboration with Stedelijk, Arup and Tata Steel, we have created walls like screens, thanks to the slimness of the steel structure. These enable a lightness and flexibility in navigating the exhibition space, and encourage the viewer to take different paths in the space, as adventurous as circulation through any city. ” Rem Koolhaas Director and Architect OMA / AMO

A mock-up wall was built to test the visual result and to measure how the wall would respond to someone accidently bumping into it. 

We had the unique opportunity to test the structural design of the freestanding walls on site. Using our structural calculation models, we measured the adjustments and together with the Stedelijk Museum and OMA, we improved the design of the slender walls. ” Sander Hofman Lead Structural Engineer

The traditional room to room museum experience is turned into a quasi-urban experience where every turn of a corner is a new discovery. This presentation of the collection  will be shown for a period of five years. Find out more about how the collection presentation and the steel walls came about in the mini documentary: 'The making of STEDELIJK BASE'. 

Arup was also involved in the renovation and extension of the Stedelijk Museum by Benthem Crouwel Architects, a project which was finished in 2012.