The Museum Fort Vechten, designed by Studio Anne Holtrop, was completed in 2015 and is a unique underground structure that perfectly follows the eroded topographic contours of the site. With its impressive large-scale model of the waterline, the museum offers visitors an immersive experience that showcases the site’s historical significance in defending the Netherlands.
Museum Fort Vechten Technical Information
- Architects1-6: Studio Anne Holtrop
- Location: Museum on the history of the Waterline Defense Bunnik, Netherlands
- Landscape Architect: Adriaan Geuze, West 8
- Client: Peter Kuypers, Provincie Utrecht
- Topics: Underground Architecture
- Area: 1.800 m2
- Project Year: 2011 – 2015
- Photographs: © Bas Princen, © Ossip, © Anne Holtrop, © Heijmans
During the 19th century, the Dutch Defense System was designed to flood large parts of the Netherlands in order to make the country inaccessible in case of assault. Fortresses were erected to defend the weakest points. The 85 km long defense line is a nominated UNESCO monument and would become as such the largest monument in the Netherlands. At one of the 46 fortress sites a museum is built to explain the history.– Studio Anne Holtrop Architects
Museum Fort Vechten Photographs
Underground Museum Fort Vechten
During the 19th century, the Dutch Defense System was designed to flood large parts of the Netherlands, making the country inaccessible in case of an attack. Fortresses were built to defend the weakest points, and one of the 46 fortress sites now houses a museum that explains the history of the 85 km long defense line, a nominated UNESCO monument, and the largest monument in the Netherlands.
STUDIO ANNE HOLTROP won an invited competition to design the museum, and the site’s present erosive state inspired their proposal. They suggested using the exact same eroded topographic contours from the map, building the museum underground within the landscape. The interior walls and courtyard elevations were traced from the plan with the height lines of the landscape and built exactly on their traced locations.
The museum is constructed in dark grey-brown concrete and, as an archaeological site monument, no foundation works were allowed. Therefore, it was cast on-site without dilations and lays as one relief of concrete in the ground. The only windows are in the elevations of the two courtyards through which light reaches the underground interiors. The main courtyard features a large-scale model in concrete relief of the entire waterline with its rivers, lakes, dikes, and polders, which can be flooded by visitors.
Visitors enter through the old fortress, where the museum connects on one corner. They will first see the museum’s interior and understand its position underground through the courtyards and stairs connecting with the upper landscape. They’ll experience the irregular walls formed by the topography before seeing its origin from the landscape.
Museum Fort Vechten Plans
Museum Fort Vechten Image Gallery
About Studio Anne Holtrop
Studio Anne Holtrop is a design and architecture firm founded by Dutch architect Anne Holtrop. The studio is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and focuses on creating innovative and functional designs deeply rooted in their surroundings. Studio Anne Holtrop’s work includes architecture, interior design, furniture design, and installations, and they have completed projects in various countries worldwide. Their approach to design often involves using natural materials and simple forms to create functional and visually stunning spaces.
Works from Studio Anne Holtrop
- Collaborators: Arjen Aarnoudse, Francesco Apostoli, Samuel Jaubert De Beaujeu, Gabriel Cuéllar, Sophia Holst, Sebastian Hürni, Dora Loncaric, Sander Manse, Akira Negishi, Shumei Nitatori, Ryuta Sakaki, Remco Siebring, Esther Vonwil, Stijn de Weerd, Roderik Van Der Weijden
- Fort masterplan: Penne Hangelbroek, Jonathan Penne Architecten; and
Christian Rapp, Rapp & Rapp
- Structural engineer: Jeroen Luttmer, Corsmit
- Environmental eng.: Hans Besslink and Geert Filippini, Royal Haskoning
- Concrete consultant: Henk Oudekempers
- Construction: Heijmans Civiel