Biesbosch Museum Island: A Pyramid With Grass Blanket!
Have you ever seen a pyramid-shaped building with a grass rooftop? You may have seen a hexagonal pyramid-shaped building, but this type of structure is one on the entire planet!
Biesbosch Museum Island
Architects: Studio Marco Vermeulen
Location: Werkendam, Netherlands
Area: 1300 m²
We’re talking about The Biesbosch Museum. Located in Werkendam, Netherlands, this building was reopened to the public in the summer of 2015. The renovation work was going on for eight months, and what a magical renovation that was! Let’s know more about this mind-blowing building.
Completed in June 2015, the entire construction cost of this museum is around €3 million! The site has a gross floor area of 1,300 sqm and 900 sqm exhibition floor area. The whole renovation and transformation work was done by Rotterdam firm, Studio Marco Vermeulen.
They also modified the building design and added few things like a completely new 1,000 sqm wing. This new area has a restaurant and temporary exhibition space for contemporary art.
There is also a place that uses a permanent display. It beautifully explains the historical development of the region that has been revamped by Studio Joyce Langezaal.
Do you know that a part of the land was removed from the existing museum area? Yes, to turn the site into a manmade island, the land around the existing museum building was removed! Pretty fascinating, right?
The site is situated near the Dutch city of Dordrecht, and the whole project was carefully developed in response to safety concerns. The area that was converted into a water-retention zone is now a part of a national safety program.
Architects have retained the hexagonal pyramids of the original museum pavilions. They’ve also added a new wing added to the south-western side of the building. The old building features a permanent exhibition, a library, a multipurpose theater, the entrance area, and the museum shop.
Whereas the new area has extensive areas of fenestration, the extension houses an organic restaurant. You’ll get amazing views of the adjacent landscape, as well as it has specifically provided gallery space for temporary exhibitions.
The most interesting thing about this building is the grass rooftops. This is the reason why this museum has been a matter of discussion for people! The entire building, including the new sections, is surrounded by earthworks and is entirely covered with a roof of grass and herbs. This looks pretty bizarre and exotic!
Now you might be thinking about why architects have chosen this design? This canopy design has been added as a roof to add ecological value, and it also stands as a sculptural object that reads as land art.
According to Studio Marco Vermeulen, “The roof adds ecological value, creating a sculptural object that reads as land art and, at the same time, manifests itself in the surrounding landscape.” They added, “A fold in the roof gives way to an adventurous mountain trail and a lookout post.”
On Museum Island, designers have also planned a large water model of the Biesbosch and a freshwater tidal park. From interiors, water models to freshwater tidal parks, everything is designed by Studio Marco Vermeulen.
Architects explained, “Water safety was the key reason for the development of the Biesbosch Museum Island. As part of a national water safety program, the 4450-hectare Noordwaard polder has been turned into a water-retention area.”
You’ll be surprised to know that every drop of wastewater is filtered through willow beds, which convert it into purified water! Later this water is redirected into the adjacent wetlands. This improves the water quality and also helps in enticing salmon and sturgeon back to the region.
“The indoor pond at the restaurant hints at the return of the sturgeon,” said the architects.
The entire wetland area is surrounded by willow forests to the south-east of Rotterdam. Through the design, architects have tried to blanket the existing building with a layer of herbs and grasses. This transforms the structure into a miniature landscape of hills, pathways, and streams.
The wider water-management scheme across the Netherlands is called “Room for the River.”
The building is designed in such a way that it minimizes energy consumption. For example, heat-resistant glass has been used in the windows. It gives two benefits: first, it eliminates the need for blinds, and secondly, it helps to insulate the building throughout the year, while a biomass stove maintains the temperature on cooler days.
There are also wedge-shaped windows that draw the natural light into the ground-level exhibition spaces. Also, the roof appears like it has been pushed upwards.
Along with these, Triangular windows dot the roof, where the Dutch Forestry Commission and the Park Board are present.
Additionally, there are several small look-out points present on the pathway to the cantilever over the edge of the roof. A remarkable small stream extends from the museum garden through one of the glass walls and across the floor of the extension.
The Bottom Line
Around 35,000 people visited the museum in 2021. After its renovation, just in the first three months, already 30,000 guests have visited the complex! Now you know why the Biesbosch Museum Island is popular among people.
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