LEERDAM (NL) - On 21 June 2010 the refurbished National Glass Museum, designed by Amsterdam architects SLA, opened in Leerdam, the centre of the Dutch glass industry. The initial commission was to renovate the existing museum, which is housed in a stately villa (built in 1914 for P.M. Cochius, the director of the nearby glass factory), and to convert the neighbouring villa (built for Cochius's financial director, J.H.O. Bunge) into offices and storage space.
This struck the project architect, Peter van Assche, as a bit dull and functionally inefficient. He therefore presented the client with a new plan in which the two villas were welded into a museum by connecting them with a series of walkways. Van Assche's aim was to enhance the spatial flow while retaining the autonomy of the individual buildings. The architect really pushed things to the limit here as the enclosed walkways, one on each level, are very conspicuous. This could, however, be seen as a positive quality in that it gives the refurbished museum a distinctive, contemporary identity, as well as four huge 'display cases', for the translucent walkways double as open storage spaces.