The Groeningemuseum is not so much a building as it is a collection of linked objects within a garden set-up. The phased refurbishment of the 1930s Groeningemuseum is not merely focused on the creation of a new interior. It is an in-depth inquiry on the museum’s capacity as a public interior within the city layout. The future of the Groeningemuseum could be two-fold: it could act as a museum and it could perform as a cocoon-like public domain. Hence we proposed maximizing these two aspects: creating an ‘expo route’ and a’ public route’. The combination of the two makes up the new Groeningemuseum -a unique chance to provide the exquisite collection (six centuries of art, starting with Flemish Primitives) with a new spatial arrangement.

The new chronological and univocal trajectory forms a homogeneous framework. Spatial diversity is obtained via the art’s density. An array of different settings (crystallization, massive concentration, densification, etc.) offers difference in experience, room after room. Apart from the art, each room is designed with specific lighting, flooring (glass mosaic tiles/luscious carpets) and furniture (individual seats/massive tribunes).

As important as the collection is the public – the tourist, flaneur or expert. A new museum arrangement should also elicit new ways of viewing the art, as well as new ways of interaction: attentive, inclusive, bulimic, superficial, punctual…

In the middle of the parcours, a publicly accessible archive emphasizes the new identity of the museum. The system consists of mobile transparent metal screens, providing a “crash course” in six centuries of art. The strategic central position of the archive induces the visitor to view the art at a different pace.

  • Location

    Bruges, Belgium

  • Design


  • 51N4E involvement

    Lead Architect

  • In collaboration with

    Bureau Bouwtechniek

  • Structural Engineer

    Rolf Van Steenwegen

  • Construction Costs

    450.000 euro

  • Photography

    Hans Werlemann

  • Image credits