BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

Allard Architecture
Arnhem, Netherlands | View Map
Project Year
Cultural Centres


BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group as Architects


BIG+allard architecture, along with three other international firms, have unveiled their proposal for ArtA, a 8,000 sqm cultural hub on the edge of the river Rhine in Arnhem, the Netherlands. ArtA connects the City with its waterfront and marries two archetypes, a film theater with an art museum.

ArtA will house the Museum Arnhem and the Focus Film Theater in a new cultural facility - bringing together creative professionals, entrepreneurs, artists and visitors locally and regionally. Attractively located at the waterfront, the axis of the site forms a symbolic connection between the historic city center and the river Rhine. BIG proposes a simple building volume with two poles: The Film Theater facing the city and the Art Museum facing the river.

Merging a contemporary exhibition facility with a film theater in a vibrant public building is a paradoxical challenge: Contemporary art galleries are characterized by the spatial qualities of industrial warehouses: Large open floor plans with generous ceiling heights and great flexibility for internal divisions and daylight control. The film theater, on the other hand, is inherently a black box - an introvert space for contemplation and focus.

Bjarke Ingels explains: “Arta is conceived as a crossbreed between the two traditional architectural archetypes, spanning the full spectrum from the Black Box to the White Cube. Oscillating between these two poles, visitors will experience a variety of hybrid conditions of art and cinema. From absolute focus to total fusion”.

A simple twist of the building volume generates a diagonal public art plaza that connects the ground floor with the winter garden and the restaurant on roof top. The Art Plaza creates encounters between the various users of the building - blurring the boundaries between art, public life, education and recreation. The building becomes a unique offspring - at once organic and rational, transparent and solid, unique and flexible, extrovert and introvert.

The building has two types of facades: One face of the building is glazed, creating a twisting window allowing daylight and breathtaking views for all gathering spaces of the building. This part of the façade starts at the open waterfront corner, providing a horizontal panoramic view of the Rhine; it continues around the cascading Art Plaza, ending as a glazed roof top covering a winter garden, overlooking the city. The solid parts of the building are clad in in-situ cast concrete.

The twist creates a covered public space for outdoor art installations and ArtA’s main entrance which will activate the street.

ArtA is BIG’s first project in the Netherlands and follows BIG’s experience in Museum Design. BIG recently completed the Danish National Maritime Museum, in which crucial historic elements are integrated with an innovative concept of galleries. Other current cultural projects include the LEGO House in Billund, the Blaavand Bunker Museum in Western Denmark, the recently announced Museum of the Human Body in Montpellier, and MECA Cultural Center in Bordeaux.

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