The museum's architecture in overview
The Van Gogh Museum consists of two buildings: the main structure (I) designed by Gerrit Rietveld and opened in 1973, and the Exhibition Wing (II) by Kisho Kurokawa completed in 1999. The architecture of the museum has a complex history: apart from these two architects, several others have contributed to finishing, rebuilding or remodelling parts of both buildings.
After Rietveld died in 1964, the museum building was completed by his partners J. van Dillen and J. van Tricht. The interior was altered many times over the years and in 1998-99 it was renovated by Martien van Goor of Greiner Van Goor Huijten Architects BV. At that time the layout of the building was readjusted to correspond more closely to the original design, and the entrance area was made more spacious and convenient.
The same architects were also responsible for the new office wing on the southwest side of the building and for the passage connecting the old and the new buildings, which became known later as the ‘Node’.
Georges Berne of the French company L’Observatoire was brought in to design the lighting for the Exhibition Wing and the Main Building, and Eveline Merkx of Merkx+Girod Architects designed the interior of the museum shop.
Through the creative contributions of all these designers, the museum complex has become a true Gesamtkunstwerk, in which the different parts contrast with and complement each other, and in which Kurosawa’s elliptical building enters into an absorbing dialogue with Rietveld’s functionalist design.