Backstage: The Building

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts opened its doors in Antwerp in 1890. But in 2011, the KMSKA had to close them again. We needed time for restoration and renovation. We still get plenty of visitors, though. Because there’s a huge amount to be done. We’re building not just one museum for you but two. Two in the space of one! Come and take a peek backstage!

Two museums in the space of one

Our museum building had become too small. So much so that we risked bursting at the seams. But how do you provide new facilities and increase your exhibition space in an old building without harming it?

The Louvre went underground. We’re doing precisely the opposite. We’re filling up our courtyard spaces.

Manfred Sellink, General Director and Chief Curator

The masterplan

On the one hand, we’re restoring our 19th-century museum to its former glory. While on the other, we’re building a new, contemporary museum on our six inner courtyards. The upshot is two museums in the space of one. KAAN Architecten is the firm behind this masterplan. The architecture they are inserting here is fresh and surprising, but also harmonious and respectful of the old building.

The elephant in the museum

Why is the renovation taking so long? The masterplan combines new construction with the renovation and restoration of a monument. And one that’s located, moreover, on an archaeological site. All of which makes the renovation process highly complex.

More backstage

Curious about what the curators have been up to while the museum is closed? Or would you prefer a backstage peek into the restoration studio? Watch the other KMSKA Backstage episodes!

A Mals Media production. With thanks to KAAN Architecten, the Support Services Agency, the Cultural Infrastructure Fund, Artes Roegiers and the Flemish Government.