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24 February 2018 Comments (0) Architecture, Culture

XXL renovation for the Ixelles Museum

A 2.5 million investment, a trendy masterpiece… Significant renovation works are about to start in the municipal museum. the works begin in March and will take three years.

This is not a village museum, but a showcase on a national scale. Probably a little too introvert… Inside, however, the twentieth century is very much alive, with Magritte, Spilliaert, Delvaux, Boltanski, Christo, or Zao Wou-Ki exhibited on the walls. At the height of its glory (the Doisneau exhibition has beaten all audience records), the municipal museum of Ixelles is, however, taking a break and will come back in XXL format in three years’ time.

Behind this unlikely lifting is the architect Sven Grooten, one of the founders of the architect firm B-architecten, to whom we owe the new Muntpunt, the Beursschouwburg and the train station in Laken. And he thinks big. The area of the museum will go from approximately 3.200m2 to a little more than 4.000m2. How? With a new cafeteria and a bookshop, the opening of a gallery on the second floor in the main room and the creation of a sculpture garden.

The objective: to open the museum to the outside and create a dialogue with its urban environment. Whereas, up to now, even the entrance had gone unnoticed. According to the drawings, particular attention will be paid to the front side, with specific care for access by the main garden, facing the street. This entrance pavilion is intended to become a meeting place for visitors, but also for the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, passers-by and schoolchildren. Its roof will be vegetated. The reception spaces, including the ticket office, will separate more clearly the temporary exhibitions and the permanent collections.

  • Musee d'Ixelles - Concept © B-architecten
    Musee d'Ixelles - Concept © B-architecten
  • Musee d'Ixelles - Facade © B-architecten
    Musee d'Ixelles - Facade © B-architecten
  • Musee d'Ixelles - Jardin © B-architecten
    Musee d'Ixelles - Jardin © B-architecten
  • Musee d'Ixelles - plan © B-architecten
    Musee d'Ixelles - plan © B-architecten

A new exhibition space

The wing of the temporary exhibitions will get windows to flood the museum with natural light. On the ground level, a large space will be fitted out as a café and a museum store, which will be directly connected to the reception and to the new entrance. The former barracks of the gendarmerie, of the 75, rue Van Volsem, will host educational spaces, a multi-purpose space, workshops and offices. Its garden, now closed to the public, will become a sculpture garden and will be an integral part of the museum experience.

Thanks to the redeployment of the former barracks, the second floor of the main gallery, currently occupied by the administration, will evolve into a new exhibition space of approximately 300m2. The budget of 2.5 million euros will be covered by public subsidies and by a fund of 500,000 euros bequeathed to it by the Foundation Lydie and Albert Demuyter (mayor of Ixelles from 1973 to 1993). In 2017, the museum has welcomed approximately 100,000 visitors. Will it be able to double its visitors in its new building?

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