By Team IAnD
Photography: © BMD/Kossmann.dejong; courtesy Kossmann.dejong
Assimilating volumes of information and history into an interactive, intriguing environment, exhibition architects Kossmann.dejong combine a range of disciplines and media to relate intriguing spatial stories at the newly designed Dutch National Military Museum in Soesterberg, opening tomorrow – Dec.11, 2014.
The vast area of 20,000 sq. m., is designed as two different exhibition environments: a large ‘daylight museum’ (The Arsenal) on the ground floor for the extensive collection, and a ‘black box’ on the first floor, a darkened thematic space, intended primarily for story-telling.
While the daylight museum offers a chronological overview of about a thousand years of military technology, a 'black box' with a thematic approach is developed on the first floor. Here, seven exciting, mix-media theatrical environments narrate stories about the importance of water for our defence, about the present, past and future of the armed forces, about the position of the armed forces in Dutch society, as well as personal stories and dilemmas; as the ‘story of the armed forces’ takes centre stage.
Large objects, such as tanks and jets, are skilfully positioned in a thirteen-metre high exhibition space. Smaller pieces, such as aircraft engines, are displayed in lower-ceilinged spaces, in settings more appropriate to the nature of the exhibits. Visitors encounter different kinds of exciting thematic spaces, created with a mix of media and communication tools, including scale models, panoramic films, animations, dynamic sounds, and dramatic lighting effects.
Almost three thousand objects are featured and the variation in size, materials, and cultural history value is enormous, presenting volumes of knowledge in a dynamic, intriguing manner. Among the many techniques that the architect employs, the most exciting one is to bring objects to life; like the interactive Xplore environment, where children can fly in an F16 and make their own gunpowder. Intelligent use of mix media sees the memorable ‘dogfight’ on the south-west side of the building, where five fighter jets loop in the air in single file. It is a unique display, which creates a strong spatial connection between the objects and the gallery, and transforms the individually positioned objects into a dynamic whole.
A layered presentation pattern makes information and experiences directly accessible to a universal audience, while it smoothly incorporates specificities and details for people who want to dig deeper.
The new building, the entire museum layout, and the surrounding landscape have been designed as an integrated entity. The museum comprises the former Military Aviation Museum in Soesterberg, and the Army Museum in Delft and will be opened officially by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander on 11 December 2014.
Professional expertise is lent by Kossmann.dejong as exhibition architects; as part of the Heijmans PPP consortium; which comprises developer Heijmans, Felix Claus Dick van Wageningen Architects, and H+N+S Landscape Architects.
The National Military Museum will be open to the public from 13 December, two days after the official inauguration.