International Competition, Finalist
with Holzer Kobler Architekturen

Client: Province of Drenthe
Location: Assen, The Netherlands
Date: 2007

In a selective process, the province of Drenthe invited five international architect teams to participate in the competition for the extension of the Drents Museum in Assen. The focus of the brief consisted of reorganizing the historical ensemble of buildings while adding flexible museum spaces for temporary exhibitions. Despite the recommendation to locate the extension on a plot adjacent to the museum, the team led by HKA & Nau2 (formerly DGJ) proposed an underground extension under the Brink—Assen’s central public space located directly in front of the museum. This complex of historic buildings, including the Drents Museum, forms the highly protected main façade of the Brink. Underneath the Brink, a wonderful, controversial architecture can arise proposing a fresh contrast between old and new, where the visitor can experience the opposition of artifice and nature, of worlds above and below the ground.

The proposal allows for the continued use of the main entrance on the Brink, while activating and reorganizing the old building structure. A new hall in the center of the existing complex serves as a generous lobby connecting the various functions of the museum. The project reveals the existing façades of both the Drents Museum as well as the neighboring National Archives in their full height, making it possible once again to admire this 19th century building structure, and its form based on a 13th century cloister. With its radial shape, the design of the new temporary underground galleries takes into account the position of the centuries-old trees of the Brink while providing a contemporary museum facility.

This controversial proposal was not retained by the jury. However, with 69 % of the public votes, the project won the unofficial people’s choice award as part of an exhibition of all the competition proposals on site.

Project Partners:
– Holzer Kobler Architekturen, Zurich
– DGJ Landscapes, The Hague & Zurich
– iart interactive, Basel
– abt, Arnhem
– SmitsRinsma, Zutphen

Renderings: © Miss3, Brno

Model Photos: © Nau2