ANTWERP – The former Hanzehuis (Hanseatic House) – once a 16th-century storage depot in Antwerp – is now home to the Belgian city’s largest museum, designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architects. The 60-m-high tower design houses the majority of Antwerp’s past- and present-day stories, and sits aside a new public square with four pavilions and Dead Skull, a mosaic work by Luc Tuymans. Fully clad with hand-hewn, red Indian sandstone from Agra, the building’s presence is unmissable throughout the city.
To break up the monumental dimensions of the tower, the façade has been decorated with a metal hand – the symbol of Antwerp. Inside, medallions designed by writer Tom Lanoye and graphic designer Tom Hautekiet complement the exterior metal detailing. The tower comprises ten floors, each constructed from natural stone, that are top of one other. Five of these levels bring together collections from the former Ethnographic Museum, the National Shipping Museum and the Folklore Museum.
Part of the Vleehuis Museum and Paul and Dor Janessen Arts collection have also been accommodated, bringing MAS Museum’s total collection to 470,000 – and counting. The remaining five floors house a vertical galleria, workshop, two-star restaurant, café and, of course, spots for grabbing fabulous panoramic views of the city.