On 1 December 2013 the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) closed its doors for a three year renovation period. When the museum reopens mid 2017, it will have drastically changed in appearance. The renovated museum will be a dynamic, contemporary museum with a focus on society. It will be a place to remember the shared colonial past and will create a dynamic platform to facilitate encounters and dialogue between visitors from different generations and cultures.
This renovation was urgently needed. The museum building dates from 1910 and, despite his unique charm, the infrastructure was no longer suited to the needs of a modern museum. The last major alterations date back to the 1958 World Exhibition in Brussels, more than 50 years ago now.
The permanent exhibition had also become extremely dated, in sharp contrast with the temporary exhibitions which tended to concentrate on scientific research and the topicality of the collections. All in all it was high time for a drastic renovation and modernisation.
The renovated museum building and the new welcome pavilion will be the first visible changes on the site. After this the remainder of the master plan for the whole site will be implemented and this in relation to the buildings in which the scientific departments are currently housed. The completion of this challenging total project is not expected before 2020.
The entire renovation takes place under the authority of the Belgian Buildings Agency in close collaboration with the museum. Following a public call for tender in 2007 the assignment was awarded to the temporary partnership Stéphane Beel Architects (TV SBA). This temporary partnership is made up of Stéphane Beel Architects, Origin Architecture and Engineering, Niek Kortekaas, Michel Devisgne, Arup, RCR Studiebureau and Daidalos Peutz.
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In this video clip General Director Guido Gryseels explains why the museum needs a renovation.