National Van Gogh Museum

Paulus Potterstraat 7
Rietveld, Van Dillen, Van Tricht
Tram 2, 3, 5, 12 stop Paulus Potterstraat
D. de Rond en A. Terstal, Rietveld in Amsterdam, Rotterdam 1988, p.62-63; M. Köper en I. van Zijl, Gerrit Rietveld 1988-1964, het volledige werk, Utrecht 1992, p.352-53.
Cultuur, Leisure

Museum building bordering the Museumplein

In 1963, the architecture firm of Rietveld, Van Dillen and Van Tricht won the commission to design a museum to house the work of Vincent Van Gogh. The initiator, the son of Vincent’s brother Theo, and the client stated several specific requirements. Among other things, the museum must reflect the scale of its neighbouring buildings (including the Stedelijk Museum), and the exhibition space had to be top-lit.

Gerrit Rietveld sketched a preliminary design that met both demands. In the three-storey building, the exhibition spaces are grouped around a central atrium with an open staircase. This layout, together with the terrace-like floors, admits daylight through the roof and a central light shaft to every interior space. Rietveld sketched the floors as open galleries, with the floor area reducing upwards floor by floor. This gives visitors in the upper part of the building a view of the lower floors and of the hall. Rietveld’s hand is apparent in the composition of extended planes on the street side, around the main entrance. After Rietveld’s death in 1964, Van Dillen continued the project using the preliminary sketches as a basis. When Van Dillen died in 1966, the work was completed by Van Tricht.

In 1999, the museum was extended by the addition of a freestanding semi-elliptical pavilion designed by the Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. The new building is reached from the older section through an underground passage. The 1973 building underwent a thorough face lift during construction of the new wing, conducted by Greiner Van Goor Architecten. (ARCAM/WL)