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Stedelijk Museum Schiedam: MVRDV wraps interior of historical chapel in red shelves 

DARIA SCAGLIOLA & STIJN BRAKKEE

MVRDV completed its transformation of the entrance of Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, transforming its historical neoclassical chapel into an entrance, shop and café area. The transformation adds a visually clear element, a red shelf which contains all new program and treats the historic structure respectfully.

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In 2006, the museum went through a renovation which relocated the main entrance in the basement, the stair leading to the reception area proved difficult to find. The centrepiece of the museum, the neoclassical Giudici chapel lay neglected and lacked good acoustic quality.

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The MVRDV design unites all the demanded programme in a series of large book shelves, they contain the reception desk, wardrobe, the museum store, the cafe counter and various presentation spaces for art and products for sale. The chapel was built in 1787 by Jan Giudici as spiritual centre for a guesthouse for the poor elderly and sick with a sober, greyish interior. The bright red colour was chosen to act as a warm element, making a clear juxtaposition between the old and new and to pay respect to the former sacral function of the space.

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As the chapel is a listed monument the transformation could not change the existing structure, the shelf is constructed in MDF and respectfully meanders around the historical elements such as windows, columns and the organ – framing them at the same time. The small distance between the shelf and the elements also mediates between the perfectly level new addition and the oblique historical structure. Perforations in the backs of the shelves avoid problems with humidity. The higher shelves play an acoustic role whilst others highlight products by using built in LED armatures. Due to its light construction the shelf can be removed at any time without leaving a trace in the monument.

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all images © DARIA SCAGLIOLA & STIJN BRAKKEE