Cruz y Ortiz concluded this way its work of more than a decade, arguably the most complex and the most important of his successful career. The restoration of the Rijksmuseum has consolidated them into the international architecture elite and it has made them won several awards, including the Abe Bonnema Prize, the Gouden AAP and The Icon award and FAD. This year also they have been honored as Knights of the Royal Order of the Netherlands Lion and appointed honorary members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Chicago.
During the restoration of the main building, the Philips Wing hosted some of the iconic pieces from the museum, as ‘The Night Watch’ by Rembrandt. Now the building rejoins the museum tour and will house mainly temporary exhibitions. The first of them, opened on the November 1st 2014. The first exhibition is entitled Modern Times. Photography in the 20th Century and, from February, Late Rembrandt. The first exhibition in the wing’s dedicated photography gallery will be Document Nederland: The Netherlands.
The Philips Wing is actually a building constructed as a ‘collage’. The name given before the restoration, “Fragments Building”, refers sincerely to its old nature. It was built between 1898 and 1916 by the architects Pierre and Jos Cuypers, who incorporated remnants of historic buildings from different parts of the Netherlands that were ruined or were to be demolished. Among them, some well-known as the “Front of Breda”, reconstructed from original elements of Breda Nassau Stables.
In its restoration, Seville architects have mix old and new elements, a guideline already used in the main building of the Rijksmuseum, and have recovered as an open patio one which has been closed for the last 40 years.
From the architects. The logic of the Main Building consists of the two courtyards around which the galleries are wrapped. Revealing all these items and complementing it with the contemporary public square was one of the successful factors in the renovation in order to guarantee a ceremonial entrance, spaciousness and safe environment with a public realm.
In the Philips Wing project Cruz y Ortiz were gifted a similar treasure. Although the courtyard in the Philips Wing was only latently present and deprived from any daylight since the late 1940s, a similar potential and obvious linking pin with the main building was present. After leaving the west courtyard of the main building, by its south west gate, the visitors enter a pleasantly light passageway allowing a stroll along the Asian Pavilion. The twist at the end of this passageway, accompanied by a lowered ceiling, is later followed up by the half secluded atrium of the Philips Wing.
Like the main building, coherency is found in the synergy between old and new. On the one hand visitors will encounter the tectonics of the contemporary intervention, the Portuguese limestone Cascogne Azul and the acoustic baffle ceiling – also known as a chandelier – the bright white walls, the firm but elegant grey banisters, porches, and doors. On the other hand the courtyard receives its charm from the façade of Breda Castle, which is framed within a new context of the contemporary atrium.