Gallery Borzo, Keizersgracht Building, Amsterdam Art Project, Photo, Design, Image
Gallery Borzo Amsterdam : Keizersgracht Architecture
Amsterdam Art Gallery – design by Wiel Arets Architects, The Netherlands
Keizersgracht, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Design: Wiel Arets Architects
The historic building on Keizersgracht 516 that dates back to 1882, used to be an average canal house. Nowadays it accommodates the Gallery Borzo that was opened in January 2006 after a period of careful reconstruction. When the building was introduced to be reconstructed in October 2004, its previous structural alternations haven been rather disguised.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the structure had been completely revised to accommodate a large warehouse, but the shop was taken over by F.J. Dupont who hired Alexander Bodon in 1932 to redesign the place as a bookshop where customers could wander through the shop using various routings. Bodon introduced a slender hanging steel construction that allowed as much as possible light to penetrate deep into the narrow house. A vertical column containing the book elevator spatially balanced these mostly horizontal elements.
In the 1970’s an art dealer undertook the building and though he left the interior by Bodon intact, offset walls, floors and extra spiral stairs were successively added to the structure, which made it more difficult to distinguish the original elements of Bodon from the parts that were placed later. In order to uncover and integrate the hidden design from 1932 within the layout for the Gallery Borzo, at first the building got completely stripped. By taking away the modifications of the 1970’s, the original features such as the façade, the portal, the level division, the hanging circulation and the former book elevator reappeared.
Initial points for our remodelling have been the clients aim to on one hand unify the former front facing house and rear building and on the other hand to change the programmatic proportions of exhibition and living into half and half. For the benefit of a comfortable access of the public zones the private housing areas are distributed in section occupying the basement and the roof levels. Consequently the exhibition space takes place on the two ground related levels of the front and the back house, as well as on the first level of the main house accommodating an extra library and an office facility.
In order to degrade the structural division of the building a ramp enabling a continuously movement between the two parts was introduced. This fusion of spaces, also integrating the origin separating luminiferous patio, determined the varied experience of layering and as well created a long viewing line along the sidewall providing an spaciously open atmosphere within the gallery. The first floor is linked via a new V-shape staircase connecting the hanging gallery with the upper level. Additionally to the all over present natural light sources a lightning system of a double ring of TL lights assures an adequate homogeneous illuminating of the entire exhibition. Depending on varying day light conditions and the exhibition pieces, it is possible to brighten or soften, to warm or cool the lightning.
To avoid the usual interfering hanging frameworks, the exhibition walls were constructed out of a multiplex and plasterboard construction, on which fibreglass wallpaper was applied that enables to expose art at any chosen place on the walls. In this manner a maximum flexibility in handling and replacing of the art selection is achieved. The floors are laid with grey linoleum, banded by a black rubber skirting that forms a neutral background for the exhibition. The grey material covers as well the reception desk at the entrance that accommodates next to all electrical devices and a fully equipped workstation the potential to be used as a bar during openings.
Gallery Borzo Amsterdam images / information from Wiel Arets Architects
Location:Keizersgracht 516, Amsterdam