The inauguration of Zaha Hadid’s iconic Port House has renewed the spotlight on Antwerp. The Belgian city has in recent years progressively strengthened its reputation as a destination of architectural interest. The six fashion juggernauts Dries van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee haven’t hurt building the cities’ reputation, either. Next to the Art Nouveau style buildings and in amongst those from the Middle Ages, contemporary Antwerp drives a strong impulse towards innovation. The councils and governments are undergoing a plan of action to recover the existing patrimony of the cityscape, grafting new landmarks into the fabric of this contemporary city.
MAS – Museum aan de Stroom, the largest museum in Antwerp
Over 60 meters in height, the MAS – Museum aan de Stroom is the main museum in the city and is located next to the old port. Completed in 2010, it was designed by the studio Neutelings Riedijk Architects of Rotterdam, who conceived it as a succession of exhibition spaces, connected by stairs and elevators. The result is a towering building, in which the individual levels undergo a sort of rotation, generating a vertical gallery with large glass segments. The square in front of the museum has become an integral part of the urban rhythm: it is actively used by the citizens, as well as during the events promoted by the institution. With an area of 20,000 square meters, the MAS boasts a collection of about a 1.5 million works, of which 180,000 are on display at any one time. The panoramic views of the city can be seen from different levels and climax in a spectacular rooftop view on the top floor with restaurant and conference room.
MoMu – the Antwerp fashion museum
The unmissable address: Graanmarkt 13
Equipped with a permanent collection of over 25,000 pieces, MoMu is Antwerp’s fashion museum. The curation is designed based on one solid idea: the absence of any fixed and permanent setup. Twice a year, the museum is refreshed with a new temporary installation or exhibition. The works coming into the museum are extremely varied and focus on the different dimensions of fashion and textile production. Opened in 2002, the MoMu was designed by architect Marie-José Van Hee and is housed in a commercial building originally built in the 19th century.