It’s rich pickings for lovers of architecture in the Museum Quarter. You will be able to find building styles ranging from neo-renaissance to art nouveau to contemporary. This walk starts at Van Baerlestraat 35 opposite the Concertgebouw.
Restaurant Solo – former fire station
The origins of this building as a fire station can still be seen in the memorial stone above the entrance. It was finished in 1892 but was only used as a fire station for five years. After that it was used by the police until the Second World War. It was built in the 19th century neo-renaissance style which used motives like the stepped gable in this building.
The Rijksmuseum was designed by Pierre Cuypers and was officially opened in 1885. It is built in the so-called historic style borrowing elements from gothic and renaissance architecture. It was heavily criticized at the time for being too ‘medieval’ and ‘not Dutch enough’ but has become a well-loved Amsterdam landmark.
Lizzy Cottage was built in 1902 by A.W. Weismann and named after the second wife of the owner, stockbroker and art collector Engelbertus van Essen. Note the putti on the golden frieze above the bay window. Another interesting feature is the blank wall decorated with a frieze featuring dancing women. On the inside of the house, this wall was used to display paintings.
The brick façade of the Chanel boutique has been changed into a completely transparent one with window frames, architraves and even bricks made of glass. MVRDV Architects, who designed the spectacular store front, claims the structure is ´stronger than concrete.´
Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum consists of two separate buildings. The main building which houses the permanent collection, was designed by world famous Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld, an important member of De Stijl. His modernist vision stresses geometric shapes and light, open spaces. As a contrast, the exhibition wing designed by Kisho Kurokawa, is decidedly asymmetrical and more organically shaped. In 2015 a new glass entrance hall was added, also by Kurokawa.
The original building of the museum, designed by A. W. Weissman was completed in 1895. With its gable, small tower and its red brick exterior it refers to 16th century Dutch architecture. In 2012 the spectacular new wing, designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects was opened. The building caused quite some controversy at the time of the opening but has been fondly nicknamed ‘the bathtub’ by locals since.