Once the home of a ship owner, now a national monument, the Museum Vlaardingen  has a collection that gives visitors an insight into the last 5,000 years of life in the delta of the rivers Rhine and Maas in the Netherlands. In 2014-2015, the premises underwent a striking makeover. Houdijk Architecten were tasked with redesigning the structure.

About the project
The museum's brief included integration of an adjacent building and a detached warehouse to its rear. Where old meets new, glazed apertures have been created in the existing exterior masonry walls. The resulting sightlines reveal the museum's spatial complexity, with loft-like heights and dynamic views, tempting and drawing visitors into the spaces that lie beyond. Meanwhile, a fully glazed facade on the north side of the addition floods the building with natural daylight. The strikingly asymmetrical pitched roof acts as a unifying element, offering a modern interpretation of the surrounding traditional roofing while integrating the renovated heritage structure and its new addition.

Architect Wijnand Houdijk explains that, in order to create a clear contrast with the building’s original rugged wooden beams and archaic walls, he chose 3 modern materials for the renovation and extension: concrete for the floors, aluminium and, most importantly, glass. This created a powerful sense of open space and transparency. The many level changes and loft-like spaces in the design meant it was important to find a balustrade solution unobstructed by a conventional handrail or metal grip. The architects collaborated with Q-railing, ultimately narrowing in on the Easy Glass Pro Y-shaped fascia mount solution. In addition to providing a completely transparent balustrade solution, the railing system offered the ability to make fine adjustments to the positioning of each glass panel from the inner (installation) side. This proved invaluable when it was installed on the various sections of finished concrete flooring levels.

Houdijk Architecten

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