‘A new museum can easily cost sixty to seventy million euros’, explains museum director Bart de Baere in an interview with De Standaard. Selecting the best location for the relocation of Antwerp’s Museum of Contemporary Art, with its unique signature and influence on its surrounding area, therefore involved a series of important decisions.
The four shortlisted locations in Antwerp varied in terms of their size, urban planning options, property rights, business rights, buildings and the socio-economic situation of the surrounding areas. The challenge for the team was to balance the architectural, spatial and financial-economic aspects, and to arrive at a preferred location.
Design research carried out by IEA Architects revealed the potential of the various sites in terms of an attractive design and the integration of the new museum within each potential location. Engineering and consultancy firm Antea studied the spatial integration of the museum into both the immediate vicinity and the wider urban context. Meanwhile, Rebel provided an analysis of the various real estate costs, revenues and opportunity costs for each location. An evaluation was also conducted of the real estate risks associated with each of the sites, which partnerships could be considered in order to develop the sites, and what the impact of choosing each site would be on the subsequent lead time.
Ultimately, the Zuidersluis, with its views over the river Scheldt, was selected as the preferred location based on this joint research. The new museum is expected to open in 2024.