Martien van Goor

Van Goor

Martien van Goor was born in Haarlem in 1944. After graduating from Polytechnical College, he entered the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. He began working with Onno Greiner already during his student years, becoming a partner in the firm in 1981. Since 1995 Martien van Goor has been director-owner of the office. In January 2001 Eric Huijten became his partner.

In addition to the Van Gogh Museum, Martien van Goor also undertook the renovation and extension of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden. Other completed renovation projects include the main headquarters of KLM (national prize for renovation, 1993) and the Volharding Building in The Hague. He designed the extension to the town hall in Velsen (by W.M. Dudok) and, together with Onno Greiner, a new stagehouse for the Carré Theater. He was also a member of the programming committee of ARCAM (1989-1999), chairman of the psychiatric department working group of STAGG, and a member of the OISTAT organizational committee for the Dutch submission to the Quadrennial in 1999 and 2003.

Amongst other things, he is currently working on the new psychiatry building next to the AMC and on the Theatre/operahouse in Zwolle, scheduled to open in 2006.

The renovation and extension of the Van Gogh Museum is my first project involving a museum. Of course our office has had a great deal of experience in renovating public buildings, particularly theatres. It was for this reason that we were asked to submit an entry for the multiple commission the Rijksgebouwendienst and the Van Gogh Museum had organized to select an architect.

The renovation project is extremely diverse in terms of the envisaged changes. In the first place there is the connection of the Rietveld building with the new exhibition wing designed by Kurokawa. To all intents and purposes, two separate buildings have to be joined together in such a way that the public can walk from one to the other by way of Museumplein. The assignment was to design a ‘node’ in which the entrance level of the existing building would be joined to the 7.5 metre lower entrance hall of the new Exhibition wing, whilst also giving access to the auditorium on the level in between. In order to give the visitors a good view of their actual position in the building I have designed an open space from which all three levels can be seen. An escalator joins the two main levels to one another, and the three levels are joined by a glass lift and stairs. The open space is semi-cylindrical creating an independent area between two buildings. It is also a compact area, as there was very little space available for the design of this important focal point.

The entrance area had to be radically changed to cope with the great increase in the number of visitors, which has grown from 70,000 to more than one million per year: far more than it was originally designed to hold. In contrast to the museum area, the entrance hall was a very poky little space. It did not participate in the spacial design of the varying sized rooms grouped around the central open area (the building's ‘lungs’). The ground floor has been opened up - creating a spacious entrance area in the central hall, with the cloakroom and shop situated along the front elevation. Other practical problems like accessibility and suchlike have been solved without disturbing the building's three-dimensionality.

A great number of physical changes had to be made to the building to meet the climatological specifications. As far as the interior design is concerned, the ceilings have been changed to an aluminium colour as this gives a neutral background and reduces the amount of reflection. On the first floor the original museum space can be used for the collection once again as, now there is more room, less floorspace needs to be devoted to storage.

There was too little office space so that had to be extended as well. Given the dimensions and the sheer bulk of the existing building, there were two possible solutions. A smaller, higher version of the existing office block eventually proved to be the better option. This fits in most harmoniously with the surroundings of the new exhibition wing, the Stedelijk Museum's new extension and the monumental trees already in existence in Sandbergplein. The office has been designed as an abstract volume which participates in the play of cubist shapes that make up the museum's design. In this way the staircase tower continued to be recognisable as an independent feature. The abstract character of the office block is achieved by attaching the glass section forming the front façade 60 centimetres away from the construction. The effect created is of placing the building under a glass dome.

Another important change to the outside wall involves the low-rise buildings on the Museumplein side. This receding façade has been designed as a free-standing screen, which has given it a clearer shape of its own in relation to the higher rise of the greater part of the building.

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