Atelier PRO has been asked to design a partial transformation of the museum of the Allard Pierson institute located at the Oude Turfmarkt in Amsterdam, within the perimeter of its existing structure at the Turfdraagsterpad.
The Allard Pierson is the museum and knowledge centre for the heritage collections of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). These two organisations merged into the new Allard Pierson in February 2018 as the Allard Pierson Museum and the adjacent ‘Extraordinary Collections’ library building, which had already been redesigned by Atelier PRO in 2007, became one organisation.
The Allard Pierson Museum has been a part of the UvA since 1934 and was located in the former headquarters of the De Nederlandsche Bank since 1976. The building is a state monument that has had many different functions through the years, among which monastery, church, and military ones. Both during and after its use by De Nederlandsche Bank, the building has been drastically restructured several times.
After a land exchange with the City of Amsterdam the bank relocated in the 1970’s. Thus the area confined by the Oude Turfmarkt, Kloveniersburgwal, Grimburgwal and Nieuwe Doelenstraat became available for a set up that suited the UvA. Since the reconstruction for the establishment of the Allard Pierson Museum in the building in 1976, there have not been any other renovations. The need for more space is the reason why Atelier PRO was asked to design a transformation in 2016. The starting point for the new restructuring is logistical optimalisation with respect for the present historical and architectural qualities of the building
Extra space will be created ‘behind’ the current entrance, on top of a part of the building that now has limited height, but within the current official building perimeter. This spot is now the place where several rear facades and add-ons come together. The transparent new structure will conserve the visibility of this ensemble and connect de different height levels with a new front façade.
By connecting the new space to the existing spaces in the building, a compacter routing along the presentations of the collections is being realised. This is especially important because the touristic public (an important new target group) will not come to visit the permanent collection, but instead will come to see the semi-permanent exhibits.
By removing the entrance desk and the shop from the current entrance hall this monumental space will open up again and serve as a free to visit semi-public area. By taking away the non-original glass entrance add-on, the large monumental doors will be made visible again from the street.
Atelier PRO has also been asked to produce a master plan based on the ambition of the client to develop an over-all concept for several future innovations. Simultaneously with the new building activities, the Allard Pierson Live project will be implemented on the first floor of the building. Here there will be freely accessible activities whereby the public can have an active experience in close proximity to the museum’s collections. The spatial implication of this is that the building will become more open because of a stronger physical and visual connection with the public area.