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Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

Ossip van Duivenbode


Glass, metal, concrete made of recycled aggregates, and climate systems


Ongoing research


People working for BAM Bouw en Techniek, RHTEI, and MVMD (among other companies and government institutions)


Education, storage, and engagement


High level of physical and digital access


Ongoing research

Life cycle

Ongoing research

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The Depot is a grouping of glass, metal, concrete made of recycled aggregates, and climate systems covered in 6,600 square meters of 1,664 panels of curved mirrored glass. Over the course of six years, the construction company BAM Bouw en Techniek led the engineering and building process and RHTEI completed the doors and hatches. In an effort to reduce initial, ongoing, and end-of-life impact, the building includes features that reduce energy and water use. A combination of geothermal heat exchange, solar panels, LED lighting, and insulation makes the building energy neutral. Rainwater, for example, is stored in the basement and used for irrigation and toilet facilities. This water storage, combined with the green roof, makes water runoff minimal, with any remaining runoffdirected into the pond of Het Nieuw Instituut, which is converted into a water basin for the surroundings.

The concrete interior is divided into fourteen storage areas with five climates, a conservation studio, and a library, which are used by museum staff and researchers; the 151,000 objects accrued by the museum over the past 173 years live according to climate preference and size rather than date, region, or style of creation. With a guide, visitors can explore some of these objects and their storage location; but most remain relatively inaccessible.

An effort at transparency not only defines the structure but its operations. Visitors can access the building from three metro lines and a parking garage. Elevators, flat floors, and wide halls make each of the seven floors manageable, and animal assistants are welcome. Entrance is free for those under 18 years and €20.00 for adults with discount options. The Depot has attracted, according to internal reports, around an average of 150,000 visitors a year since it opened, with even more viewing its online programming. The Depot website is also optimized for use, with auditory, dictionary, and translation for text and images.

The storage facility may make some of the collection available to visitors, but it entirely opens a part of museum and collecting work previously invisible. The building appears to be another step toward lowering the barriers of entry into museums as visitors and as professionals.

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