©Filip Dujardin


Angela van der Burght

As well as being a museum, the MAS is a striking monument in Antwerp
The MAS is of course first and foremost a museum, but it is also an extraordinary building in its own right, occupying an extraordinary site in an extraordinary location. So the building and its location also provide a very special MAS experience.
The MAS is an eye-catching building. Its design was inspired by a sixteenth-century storehouse or ‘Hanzehuis’. The galleries are stacked up like ‘boxes’ creating a spiral tower with large expanses of glass. As you go up on the escalators from the ground floor to +9, you have a constantly changing view of Antwerp: city, port and river in a single glance. The MAS was designed by architects Neutelings and Riedijk

Posted 28 August 2013

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“The City Museum of Antwerp is situated in the heart of the old harbour, close to the city centre. It is a 60 metres high tower of stacked exhibition spaces. Each level is twisted 90 degrees to form a giant spiral. This glazed space becomes a vertical galleria. Escalators guide the visitors to the top of the building in a journey through the history of Antwerp and trough the panoramas of the city. On the upper floor a restaurant, a conference room and a sky deck are situated. Square, docks and tower are designed to form one continuous space for exhibitions and events.”

Indian red stone and curved expanses of glass
The architecture of the MAS is striking and all eyes are drawn to it. The outside consists of red stone from India and curved chemically toughened expanses of glass six metres high. The radiant red MAS tower is covered with 3,000 hands in aluminium which sparkle in the sunlight.
The Yatzer website wrote: “The heavy stone sculpture is counterweighted to the light corrugated glass façade which offers a translucency, and a transparency as opposed to the natural stone which is solid and non-transparent, thus allowing for a play of light and shadow. The corrugated curtain glass is 5.5 meters high and 1.8 meters wide; the sheets are cured into an S shape with a 60cm depth, which stabilizes every glass sheet thus making it self-supporting. In order to alleviate the bold monumental tower volume, Neutelings Riedijk architects affixed a pattern of 3,185 metal ornaments onto the façade as a veil. The hand shaped ornaments pay homage to the symbol of the City of Antwerp; this metal hand shaped pattern continues inside the building by means of metal medallions.”

The MAS square
To walk across the square in front of the MAS is to literally walk on world art! On the Hanzestedenplaats you’ll find a work of art by Antwerp’s most famous living artist: a 1,600-m² stone mosaic entitled ‘Dead Skull’ by Luc Tuymans, his first public work to be permanently on display.
The artist based his mosaic on a painting of the same name he had produced in 2002, which was itself based on the commemorative plaque to Antwerp resident Quinten Metsys (1466-1529) which is attached to the outside of the Cathedral of Our Lady. Metsys was a painter and founder of the painters’ guild.

Changing expositions & Collections
The collection contains over 470,000 objects and it is still being added to. A huge part of the collections is spread outside the MAS.
The MAS brings together within its walls a number of collections from museums which are now closed:
the Ethnographic Museum
the National Maritime Museum
the Folklore Museum a part of the collection from the Vleeshuis Museum | Klank van de Stad (items unrelated to music
the Paul en Dora Janssen-Art collection of Pre-Columbian art

MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom)
B-2000 Antwerpen
+32 (0)3-3384434

© Flip Dujardin

© Filip Dujardin

© Filip Dujardin


MASplein Luc Tuymans
© Alex Salinas

MASplein Luc Tuymans mosaic
© Alex Salinas

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