2011 WAS A YEAR OF DELIVERIES. SINCE THE NAI’S REOPENING ON JULY 1ST, IT IS ONCE AGAIN COMPLETE: A UNIQUE COMBINATION OF NATIONAL ARCHIVE, A VENUE FOR TOPICAL PUBLIC ACTIVITIES AND A HUB FOR PROGRESSIVE RESEARCH.

With spectacular new exhibitions, a welcoming entrance foyer and plenty of space for children, the NAI is targeting a broader public. With 66,000 visitors, the second half of 2011 was an excellent start to the expansion in public reach. The NAI also made its mark internationally, with successful presentations at the Shenzhen and São Paulo architecture biennials. There has also been strong growth in the number of digital visitors and users via Facebook, the UAR app and the website. The successes of 2011 would have been impossible without the commitment of all our staff, for which we are sincerely grateful.

Cellar repairs

In May 2010 the cellar floor underneath the museum building unexpectedly drifted upwards. Surveys revealed the cause to be engineering faults made at the time of construction. Repairs began in January 2011 and were completed in April, both on time and within the designated budget of €1.2 million. Some 68 anchoring rods had to be installed beneath the cellar floor. The structural engineering company Corsmit Raadgevend Ingenieurs supervized the repairs, with Van der Laar working as structural engineer. The work was carried out by Volker Staal en Funderingen.

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Cellar repairs

Photo: Carel van Hees

Renovation

In 2011 the NAI underwent a complete transformation. The most striking change is the institute’s new entrance: a broad deck that allows visitors to walk effortlessly from the street into the museum. Once inside, the spacious entrance foyer unfolds before you, with its café, bookshop and stairway leading to a Hands-on Deck, an eye-catching space specially created for children to stimulate them to design and build things for themselves. Jo Coenen & Co Architects, Van Omme & De Groot project developers, fitters Van Galen and ETB Vos, and the Toornend project management bureau all contributed to ensuring that the construction process ran smoothly. Work was completed on time and exceeded the budget of €4.8 million by a mere 1.27 per cent.

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Renovation

Photo: Carel van Hees

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Reopening

The NAI reopened on 30 June 2011: a new, open and hospitable NAI. In parallel with the building’s renovation, the NAI’s programme of activities also underwent a thorough revamp. There are now reasons aplenty for a wide-ranging public to visit us: inspiring exhibitions such as ‘Dutchville’, ‘daringdesign’ and ‘Testify!’, the Hands-on Deck, new educational programs, a comprehensive lecture and debate program, the NAI Café, and a spacious art and architecture bookshop.

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Reopening

Photo: Carel van Hees, film: Kingcanary

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NAI, Museum of Architecture

Architecture is about designing space and in the Netherlands every centimetre of space has been designed – ‘from chair to city’, as the architect Jaap Bakema encapsulated it, even in 1964. The NAI aims to increase the appreciation for spatial design, because of design’s crucial role in creating a society of a higher quality. The NAI calls itself a ‘Museum of Architecture’ in its broadest sense, celebrating the practice of architecture from interior design to urban planning and landscape architecture.

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NAI, Museum of Architecture

Photo: Carel van Hees

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Education

A key objective of the renovation was to provide more space for educational activities. That space is our ‘Hands-on Deck’ which stands at the heart of the building and is freely accessible to all. It is a place where children and teens can gain greater awareness of their surroundings, whether supervised or on their own. We call this ‘learning by design’. Guided tours and introductions to the various programs all begin at the Hands-on Deck.

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Education

Photo: Mike Bink

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Dutchville

The permanent exhibition ‘Dutchville’ provokes a whole gamut of reactions. A stroll past highlights from the NAI’s collection of scale models becomes an experience of the beautiful aspects of the Dutch city, as well as its shadier sides. The exhibition culminates in an inspirational gallery of the future, showing some of the most audacious plans for the Netherlands. It serves as a call to our public to help decide that future.

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Dutchville

Photo: Mike Bink

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Treasury

The NAI permanently showcases the top pieces from its rich collection in the Treasury, a space designed by Rem Koolhaas / OMA. The Treasury opened on the 11th of September 2011, as part of the kick-off for ‘24 hours of culture’, the launch of the cultural season in Rotterdam.

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Treasury

Photo: Carel van Hees

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International activities

The NAI is very active in an international context, staging Debates on Tour in Mexico City, Istanbul, the Balkans and elsewhere, sending exhibitions on tour to Baku (Azerbaijan), San Francisco and Mumbai, driving Matchmaking projects in China and India, running an international visitors program and curating presentations at architecture biennials in São Paulo and Shenzhen. At Shenzhen ‘Housing with a Mission’ won first prize for best pavilion. The NAI also contributes to a diversity of international media, conferences and presentations.

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a girl poses at the exhibition ‘Housing with a mission’ in Shenzhen

Photo: Tianyi Wei

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Architecture of Consequence

The NAI is increasingly profiling itself as the ideal venue for national and international professional debate. The NAI’s Architecture of Consequence innovation agenda was field-tested and expanded, with a solid series of lectures and debates about the major design themes of our day, with new initiatives such as Matchmaking and the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture, and a series of Debates on Tour. In 2011, the Architecture of Consequence activities once again proved to be an inspiration for the practice of commissioning and designing.

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Architecture of Consequence

Photo: De Designpolitie

Matchmaking

In 2011 the NAI took a new step by working to coalesce architectural knowledge around spatial challenges. We signed our first agreement with the Chinese project developer VANKE for the provision of Dutch design expertise for Chinese residential development. Within six months this resulted in an actual design for a neighbourhood in Beijing and an impressive presentation of this outcome at the Shenzhen Biennale. Cultural dialogue and the creation of jobs go hand in hand.

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VANKE delegation in the Netherlands

Photo: NAI

NAI Partners

Besides the structural support of Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of infrastructure and the environment, we would like to mention special patron BankGiro Loterij and structural partners Ymere, Havensteder, Bouwfonds Ontwikkeling, MAB Development, AM and Gispen. Other government bodies make a substantial contribution to the NAI’s work as a champion of architecture as a public concern. The NAI enjoys major backing from various parties in the private sector, which represent the whole ‘construction column’, from major contractors to small-scale suppliers, and we would like to thank them all for their faith in the NAI.

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NAI Partners

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Credits

Text

NAI

Design

De Designpolitie

Development

PMS72