The atrium of the Gemeentemuseum (Municipal Museum) in The Hague is currently undergoing a metamorphosis, in which the museum is enriched with a grand glass rooflight.
One of the starting points of the monumental building of H.P. Berlage (1859-1934) is a geometrical system based on the width of a brick plus mortar joint. This module system, together with other aspects of Berlage´s legacy, are an important starting point for the architectural design of Braaksma & Roos Architecten for the covered courtyard. The abstract glass roof on top of steel columns and beams is a reference to Berlage's system of layering elements. Because of the challenging all-glass roof, Octatube has become involved in the building team from an early stage, making feasibility studies and technical design alternatives. For this ‘Design & Build’ assignment Octatube also acts as main contractor.
In the philosophy of Berlage, the courtyard is a meeting place for museum visitors (in the summer). This features will soon be rehabilitated, through all seasons. In addition, the routing of the museum is being improved.
The roofed atrium offers the possibility to host public receptions in the museum, and activities ‘with style’. The new space also provides the opportunity to display a side program with special exhibitions, such as fashion shows. The courtyard, with an area of 700 square meters can accommodate large groups up to 700 people, which is a great added value for the city of The Hague.
More than 200 glass fins
The structure of the glass roof consists of 200 extra white glass fins, half of which suspended from the primary glass fins. The primary full transparent glass fins are more than 10 meters in length. The glass fins are covered with insulated glass units. All glass panels are deliberately composed of low iron glass panes, making them extra transparent and preventing discoloration of objects in the interior space.
The roof is supported by eight steel columns, but the loads are partly transferred to the monumental museum building itself. In addition to the advanced glass detailing, the roof light and renovation of the courtyard provide additional challenges with regards to water drainage, indoor climate, cooling, electricity facilities, acoustics and fire safety. The interdisciplinary approach of the building team has resulted in integral solutions for these challenges.
The design and construction of the project have been closely coordinated with the National Office of Cultural Heritage, the Historic Monuments Preservation Department, the Aesthetics Commission and the municipality of The Hague. In a multidisciplinary approach the construction time is kept to a minimum, in order to limit the inconvenience for the museum and realize the ambitious completion date.
Early October, preparation works have commenced. Currently an extra scaffold floor has been constructed in order to be able to work parallel on two levels at the same time. With the approaching winter, workers can continue to work on both ground floor and roof level.