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Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Structural optimisation of slender freestanding exhibition walls for STEDELIJK BASE

For the new collection presentation of the exhibition STEDELIJK BASE, Arup delivered the structural design of extremely slender steel freestanding walls, in close collaboration with AMO/Rem Koolhaas with Federico Martelli and the Stedelijk Museum.

AMO designed a new display that utilises the large, 1,100m2 gallery in the lower level to create a space for the different stories that are included in the museum's collection. The display system allows an open route through the space in which visitors are invited to create their own parcour. We worked with AMO to design the structure of the walls and to minimise movement and vibration if somebody were to accidently come into contact with them. 

How did we achieve all these particular walls with acceptable vibrations? Built from steels sheets and connected by bolts, every freestanding wall has a unique shape. We captured all the displays in one parametric model and checked the deformations and stresses to strict criteria. We studied the behaviour of the wall in several scenarios.

The Stedelijk Museum offered the opportunity to build a mock-up on-site to test the visual result and to measure how the walls would respond to someone accidently bumping into it. By implementing stiffening measures we hugely improved the performance. We optimised the locations of the stiffener plates between the walls, creating a unique pattern for each of them.

Watch: This video shows how our calculation tools and testing on site led to the structural optimisation of extremely slender and freestanding exhibition walls for Stedelijk BASE. ©Arup
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This collection presentation encourages versatile interactions between the art works on display. The traditional room to room museum experience is turned into a quasi-urban experience where every turn of a corner is a new discovery. The exhibition STEDELIJK BASE is opened in December 2017 and will be shown for a period of five years.

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