Van Gogh Museum and New Wing

Gerrit Rietveld and Kisho Kurokawa
1973 and 1999

Gerrit Rietveld, a De Stijl architect, famous as the creator of the Schröder House in Utrecht (now a World Heritage site), designed this museum in a modified De Stijl style. Rectilinear geometries dominate the outline. The rear facade uses window grid patterns effectively in the major masses. See below.

The original/first museum

The building was completed by Rietveld's partners J. van Dillen and J. van Tricht after his death in 1964 and since then the interior has been remodeled several times--as recently as 1999.

The rear facade


From the new addition by the Japanese architect, Kisho Kurokawa, looking toward Rietveld's building


One face of the circular new Wing by Kisho Kurokawa, 1999

This new building is used for temporary exhibits. Deceptively small, the building's size is masked by the fact that much of the space has been sunk underground, thereby lessening the impact on the open spaces of the large museum park. (According to one source, 75% of the building's area, excluding the main exhibition hall, is underground.) An underground passageway connects the older and the new building from the atrium of the main museum. The passageway leads to the underground part of the wing which appears as a glazed walkway. This face is asymmetric in the extreme with lines that violate the perpendicular thrust of the forms and with the cube canted above at an angle. The "courtyard" in front (or watery Japanese "garden") is paved with stone and filled with water.

View seen from the park

This striking geometrical form has an evocative monolithic presence. Like Rietveld, Kurokawa prefers geometric abstraction, but while Rietveld's forms are rectilinear, the Japanese architect's are curvilinear and asymmetrical. The building is clad in polished granite and has a titanium roof.

The sunken pool

The lower level "garden" or "courtyard" forms a transition between the new wing and the older building.

See the Rijksmuseum, which is at one end of the large park.

See also Rietveld's Schröder House in Utrecht and the reconstructed pavilion at the Kröller-Müller Sculpture Garden.

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© 2007 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.