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Museum aan de Stroom (MAS)

General

The unusual design by Neutelings Riedijk Architects consists of a stack of 10 concrete boxes each rotated a quarter turn relative to the others. The space outside the box functions as a public gallery which offers an unusual and ever-changing view of Antwerp and leads to a restaurant on the roof. The commission specified that columns or other structural elements must not obstruct the view or detract from the illusion of the floating boxes. The curved glass, provided by Sunglass Italy, was perfectly suited for this goal.

A special feature of the structure is the up to 11 metre high glass facade walls. Based on the experiences gained in the Casa da Musica in Porto, undulating glass plates were chosen. Because of their height, the undulating glass plates hold each other up and they are supported halfway up by a steel tube as a wind beam. The tube is suspended from the box above on chains. These concrete boxes will move independently under the influence of variable loads. The connections of the glass to the concrete at the top and bottom must be able to absorb these movements.
The primary structure is a core of concrete cast in situ. The walls have a thickness of 35 cm. Attached to this concrete shaft are cantilevered, storey-high steel lattices that follow the spiral-shaped movement and carry the concrete boxes containing the rooms of the museum. The trusses which are perpendicular to the box also help to support it. Nevertheless, the concentration of forces from the trusses exceeded the capacity of the concrete core to absorb them. In order to withstand the large forces from the rafters, steel transition slabs were cast in the concrete. A special feature of the structure is the up to 11 metre high glass facade walls. Based on the experiences gained in the Casa da Musica in Porto, undulating glass plates were chosen. Because of their height, the undulating glass plates hold each other up and they are supported halfway up by a steel tube as a wind beam. The tube is suspended from the box above on chains. These concrete boxes will move independently under the influence of variable loads. The connections of the glass to the concrete at the top and bottom must be able to absorb these movements.

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