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Work continues at the Depot construction site, but due to COVID-19, the building contractor, Royal BAM Group, has taken strict measures to ensure the health of its workers. Hans Polderman, project director: ‘We are working with fewer people and with permanent teams as much as possible. And those who can are working from home’.
The façade of the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, consisting of 1664 mirrored panels, is almost complete. We do not yet know when the installation of the final windows will take place. The glass is fabricated in a factory in China, where 74 windows are currently still being produced before being shipped to Rotterdam. We just received positive news from China: the glass company has now started working again and the coating company will return to work this week. We are in regular contact with the fabricators in China.
The building will have eleven doors: three double and five single. When closed, some of these doors will seem to disappear entirely into the facade. The doors have been developed by Sorba and Walasco. They have large steel frames, to which the required insulation and finishing plates are attached. After this, glass panes are lifted onto the steel frames and glued to them. Due to the shape of the building, the glazed cladding has the greatest curvature at the bottom, giving the doors an unusual shape. Because the doors are also approximately 4 meters high and 2.3 meters wide, weigh almost 1000 kg and are also very fragile because of the glass panes, fitting them was quite a task and made it difficult to find suitable machines to hang them. The first door has recently been hung to full satisfaction. When closed, the door disappears into the building’s facade, so that the impressive mirrored facade appears to be a seamless, uninterrupted surface.
The first door in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. Credits: Sorba
The Atrium at the heart of the Depot is a large rectangular open space that soars from the ground floor to the roof. This space is 40 meters high, 28 meters wide and 6 meters deep. Most of the scaffolding has now been removed and the contours of the Atrium are becoming increasingly visible. The Atrium has been developed by a collective consisting of the architects MVRDV, graphic designer Joost Grootens, materials and technical advisor Rolf van Gils, and visual artist Marieke van Diemen. Van Diemen: ‘Together with the team from the museum, I went in search of an unconventional way of showing the enormous number of works from the Boijmans collection to the public in a dazzling way.’
The Depot will contain a total of thirteen floating vitrines, varying in shape and size. As a visitor, you will soon be able to walk under and over the artworks through several glass walkways and will be able to see the artworks from a variety of angles from the gallery, the stairs and the lift. The largest showcase, measuring approx. 6 x 5 x 5 metres, will be on the sixth floor. The total volume of the vitrines is approx. 400 m3.