Brick, copper and timber make up Mecanoo’s Open Air Museum



Nature Center, Museums, Auditorium,

Bricks, copper, Wood,

Mecanoo’s Open Air Museum is a brick and timber building that invites visitors to discover the landscape through educational pathways, and also contains the Canon Museum of Dutch Civilisation

Brick, copper and timber make up Mecanoo’s Open Air Museum 
Mecanoo’s Open Air Museum is a project created through addition of various constructions over about twenty years, built out of three primary materials: brick, copper and wood.
Arnhem is home to the Open Air Museum opened to create an educational exhibition space providing information on the local area. The ticket office is a meek timber and glass kiosk dominated by horizontal lines, contrasting with the big volume of the museum introducing visitors to the territory they are about to discover. The museum building appears as a big wall made up of different kinds of brick, the pattern of which consists of a complex series of different masonry bonds, one for each type of brick.
The final effect is that of a typical, sometimes even banal building element that is made into an architectural episode worthy of discovery by the observer, 143 metres long. Different uses of the same component become a key to this new building with an old feel about it. The volume has an entrance made up of two big sliding doors made of planks of wood painted red bearing the museum sign. We would immediately get the sensation we were going into a big farm shed if it were not for the clear glass walls and the view of the landscape they permit, which is clearly not used for farming. As we enter the airy hall on the other side of the doors, we realise right away that it is a very simple wooden structure which does not imitate Dutch barns, even though one of the most recent additions houses Canon van Netherland, the Museum of Dutch Folk Civilisation, avoiding nostalgic citation of traditional architectural styles. But abundant use of timber does not tire the eye, as it alternates with the glass of the floor-to-ceiling windows that act as a material and visual filter.
The project was recently completed with the addition of an egg-shaped revolving panoramic theatre, bolding contrasting with the existing prismatic volumes, whose slender laminated timber arches are covered by a burnished copper skin, with plates of copper joined by crimping them along their edges, in the most classic and ancient of ways.

Fabrizio Orsini

Size: 3,185 m2
Status: Completed
Address: Schelmseweg 89, Arnhem, the Netherlands
Client: Nederlands Openluchtmuseum, Arnhem
Phase 1: entrance building with a museum and panoramic theatre ‘HollandRama’ of 3,185 m2.
Phase 2: improvement of the functionality, hospitality, and accessibility of the entrance pavilion and the integration of the permanent exhibition ‘de Canon van Nederland’.
Design phase 1: 1995-1998, phase 2: 2014-2015. Realisation: 1999-2000/2017.

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