Studio Marco Vermeulen presents...
REASON for REDEVELOPMENT
Water safety was the key reason for the development of the Biesbosch Museum Island. As part of a national water safety programme, the 4450 hectare Noordwaard polder has been turned into a water retention area. Outlets on either side of the Biesbosch Museum were dug to create a new island.
For most visitors, the Biesbosch Museum is the starting point for exploring the Biesbosch National Park. The museum, however, was outdated and not equipped to accommodate the growing visitor numbers. A lack of adequate catering facilities was particularly urgent. Moreover, the presentation of the collection needed an overhaul.
To avoid any unnecessary waste of material or energy, the hexagonal structure of the original Biesbosch Museum pavilions has been retained, and a new 1000 m2 wing was added on the south-western side of the building. Featuring extensive areas of fenestration, the wing opens to the museum garden on the island. The extension houses an organic restaurant that offers views of the adjacent water, landscape, and space for temporary exhibitions.
The existing building houses the permanent exhibition, library, multipurpose theatre, entrance area with reception and museum shop. Visitors can obtain tourist information about the Biesbosch National Park and buy tickets for the museum and electric boats. The addition of large dormers on the roof created space for the museum’s offices, the Dutch Forestry Commission and the Park Board.
The old and new sections of the museum are surrounded by earthworks and covered with a roof of grass and herbs. The roof adds ecological value, creating a sculptural object that reads as land art and, at the same time, manifests itself in the surrounding landscape. A fold in the roof gives way to an adventurous mountain trail and a lookout post.
The new permanent exhibition offers a rich overview of the history of the Biesbosch, the culture and the collection of the museum. The unique story of the Biesbosch is displayed in seven pavilions, covering its history from the St. Elizabeth flood of 1421 to its current status as a recreational area. The residents, economy, crafts and nature are displayed in multimedia spaces that stimulate all senses. Original film material and photographs, interviews and tools present a personal and vivid account of the area and its residents.
Both the new wing, and existing volume are designed to minimize energy consumption. The glass front is fitted with state-of-the-art heat-resistant glass that eliminates the need for blinds. The earthworks on the north-western side and the green roof serve as additional insulation and a heat buffer. On cold days, a biomass stove maintains the building at the right temperature through floor heating. On warm days, water from the river flows through the same piping to cool the building.
Sanitary wastewater is purified through a willow filter: The first in the Netherlands and an acknowledgement of the wicker culture of the Biesbosch. Willows absorb the wastewater and the substances it contains, among them nitrogen and phosphate. These substances act as nutrients and help the willow to grow. The purified water is discharged into the adjacent wetland area and flows from there into the river. Once the willows are sawn and dried, the wood can be used as fuel in the biomass stove in the museum or for other purposes.
FRESHWATER TIDAL PARK
The Museum Island is a freshwater tidal park on the island that receives river water through a newly dug creek. The tides and seasonal variations in water levels can be clearly experienced thanks to the gentle slope of the banks along the creek. The slopes also create a rich diversity of flora and fauna, so that every visit to the island will be different. A meandering path provides access to the island, which continuously changes in appearance because of the changing water levels.
The “Biesbosch Experience” is model of the Biesbosch, with polders, dikes and streams, explains the water management function and importance of the area when water levels are high. Within a half hour cycle, the water changes from “extremely low” to “extremely high”. Children and adults are able to alter the course of the water by operating various kinds of locks.
DE PANNEKOEK OPEN-AIR MUSEUM
The open-air museum on the other side of the river features a wood of willows called a “griend” where visitors can step back in time. Visitors can also see a duck decoy, a hut made of willows and reeds, and a beaver lodge.