This summer, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presented plans for a depot with both public and private functions. The architectural practice MVRDV has delivered the volume study and first sketch for the eye-catching design that will enhance Rotterdam's image as a city of innovation. The new collection building meets all technical demands and private collectors will be able to benefit from museological services. In terms of efficiency and maximising the appeal of the existing museum complex, the Museumpark is the favoured site for the new development.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen's storage facilities house a treasure trove of more than 125,000 paintings, sculptures and items of design and decorative arts. The collection is mainly the property of Rotterdam's Municipal Council, but also includes the property of private individuals and partner foundations that have entrusted their works to the museum. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen was founded upon private collections and remains, alongside the stimulus of central government, dependent upon the donations and bequests of individuals. The museum's current storage facilities lie beneath the groundwater level and are thus no longer suitable. The limited storage space, the movement of the groundwater, occasionally excessive rainfall and incidental rises in the water level of the River Maas make the current facilities unsafe and unfit for their purpose. The new collection building meets the demands for security and logistics and is furthermore an insurance against the inevitable rise in groundwater levels and increasing rainfall.
The museum's research into developments in the market has led to the concept of a public-private partnership. There has been massive worldwide growth of private collections. The practical and technical consequences of the ownership and preservation of a private collection are frequently underestimated. Maintaining works of art in prime condition requires a sizeable organisation and personnel and understandably many individual private collectors are reticent to make this organisational investment. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is establishing its new collection building in a way that will optimise the facilities for private collectors. In the future any private collector will be able to benefit from the following museological services: organisation and administration of transportation, preparation of loan contracts and condition reports, insurance and the secure storage of art works.
The new collection building will enable the museum to spread its wings. The museum will make its facilities and knowledge base available to private collectors on a rental basis. Private collectors will be able to utilise space for small presentations of their collections. The galleries and restaurant in the collection building will be accessible to the public. Private collectors will be able to employ the building so that their collection is accessible to all. The plan is being developed in consultation with the Rotterdam Development Corporation (OBR) with the aim of opening the new depot at the end of 2010. Currently, the governmental decision process is under way.