The renovation of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp starts in the autumn of 2011. The project encompasses two phases.
The first phase, which gets under way in September 2011, involves major demolition work. However, this work can only commence after the completion of a new internal depot to safely accommodate items that will remain inside the building during the renovation, including some monumental paintings by Rubens. When the depot has been finished, the renovation work will start in earnest with the removal of potentially dangerous asbestos and outdated technical fittings.
In the second phase, the building will first be fitted with modern systems and a new roof. Then
the original visitors route through the various galleries will be restored. Finally, the overall
exhibition space of the museum will be substantially increased.
Claus and Kaan Architects developed an ingenious plan that leaves the 19th-century
exterior of the building unchanged while expanding the floor space by 40%. The four patios or inner
shafts of the museum building, which were inaccessible and unused prior to the renovation, will be
converted. This way, the architects intend to create a new – vertical – museum inside the
historical shell. The new-look museum building will be able to accommodate temporary exhibitions or
display the permanent collection.