The Drents Museum in the Netherlands has just received a unique extension in the most unlikely of spaces - underground! Designed by Erick van Egeraat Architects, the new galleries are submerged beneath a richly planted park and garden, and a strip of “skylights” set at ground level flood the spaces below with natural light.
Van Egeraat’s innovative extension to the museum deeply roots the Drents within the surrounding city of Assen. The undulating roof curves to create serene gentle hills above. The new hills are lined with plants and guarded pathways that extend across a garden and lead to the nearby city. The new organic roof of the burrowed wing adds significant public park space to the city, for visitors to enjoy even if they are not visiting the museum.
The new wing is accessible through an existing historic coach house located above that will also serve as the museum’s main entrance. Rising one meter above ground, the curvaceous roof of extension is lined on the side with windows. Light pours into the gleaming white cavernous galleries below, lighting it during the day. At night, artificial lights glow from beneath the garden hill roof.
Inside, the sleek extension opens into a sub-level floor and mezzanine. A glass atrium welcomes visitors into the foyer. Glass guards line the mezzanine, which leads to the sublevel via a sweeping white spiral staircase. Rich wooden beams support the open ceiling, which also supports the new garden path above.
Van Egeraat’s innovative extension not only adds a beautiful new wing to the Drents Museum, but benefits the city of Assen with lush park space for all to enjoy.