On 20 July 2006 the Federal Council of Ministers gave the go ahead for the renovation of the Royal Museum for Central Africa. The renovation work began in 2013.
Between the sanctioning of the renovation and its getting underway various work groups worked intensively on both the architectural concept and the elaboration of a new storyline for the museum.
The final concept came about following constant, constructive consultation with the various licensing authorities (see Organisation).
A few milestones
follow the construction on the webpage Construction site.
- 1 December
The museum is closed for the visitors, after a closing weekend with 15 000 visitors.
- October 2013
28 October: Initial archaeological explorations are carried out at a depth of 0 to 2 m, without significant findings. A second dig will be carried out when the foundation ditches are excavated.
21 October: Start of archaeological explorations on the site.
14 October: the first construction site containers as well as 500 metres of construction fencing are installed. Trees found on the site of the future welcome pavilion are removed.
- May 2013
On 31 May, the decision to award the contract to the winning bidder was signed by Servais Verherstraeten, State secretary for the Public Buildings Administration.
- March 2013
On Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 March 2013, the scenario for the new permanent exhibit was presented for an external peer review. Fourteen Belgian and foreign experts in exhibitions and activities for the public closely studied the proposed storyline during these two days. The scenario is currently being modified based on the resulting comments and suggestions.
- November 2012
Preparatory works for the renovation begin in early November. In the first of these, the museum’s foundations are being analysed.
- October 2012
Tenders submitted by the contractors interested in overseeing the renovation of the Royal Museum for Central Africa were opened on 25 October 2012. Seven packages were submitted and are now being studied by the Public Buildings Administration. The PBA will award the renovation contract to one of the seven.
- August 2012
Wednesday 8 August was a date to remember: the notice of public contract for the ‘modernisation, restoration, and retrofitting for the 21st century of the infrastructure and surroundings’ of the museum was published in the Bulletin of Adjudications. Visit days were scheduled for 3 and 17 September as well as 1 October for potential tenderers. The first date already attracted a number of participants. Tenders must be submitted by 25 October, and will be opened at 11:00 a.m. in the offices of the Public Buildings Administration in Leuven. The tenders will be studied for two months and the contractor’s name will be known in late December. The contract should be awarded in early 2013 once administrative procedures have been completed. In the meantime, preparatory work has already begun on the site.
- September 2011
Under the guidance of a newly appointed project manager for the permanent exhibition an exhibition team worked on the concrete completion of the storyline. The collections which best tell this story are singled out and the museological resources which will enable visitors to the exhibition to enjoy an active and attractive visit defined.
- 31 May 2011
The Temporary Association Stéphane Beel Architecten submits plans for the restoration of the museum building and the construction of the new welcome pavilion to the Belgian Building Agency. The Belgian Building Agency and the museum will now carefully analyse these plans. Once all the observation have been integrated the plans can finally be submitted for publication in the Bulletin des Adjudications and interested contractors are then invited to submit a tender. The name of the successful contractor will be made known in early 2012.
- 4 November 2010
The Museum’s renovation has the green light! Today the Flemish Region granted to the Building Agency the building permit for the Museum’s restoration and refurbishment. Now the major task ahead is putting together tender dossiers with detailed specifications. In order to accomplish this each and every premises must be described in the minutest detail.
- 11 August 2010
The Town and Country Planning department has not received any objections. Now 60 days remain for the processing of the licensing authorities’ advice and the drawing up of the actual planning permission.
- 8 July 2010
The public inquiry begins. Anyone who wants to can now consult the dossier and has 30 calendar days to put his or her observations in writing.
- 24 June 2010
The dossier is declared fully admissible. Now the municipality has 10 days to organise a public inquiry
- 14 June 2010
The preparatory phase is completed. The new pavilion’s size and location are approved by all parties. TV SBA can now submit an application to the Flemish Brabant Town and Country Planning agency for a town and country planning permit.
- Autumn 2009
A rough sketch of the museum complex renovation is approved in August. The reception pavilion is now smaller and shorter, which results in several changes to the museum’s internal organization and will save more trees in the park. The architectural team begins drafting the design on 1 October.
- Spring 2009
The first rough design undergoes several changes concerning the new reception pavilion’s size.
- Autumn 2008
18 July 2008 is the introduction of the project brief for the site's master plan; 11 November: TV SBA begins the second part of its design, sketching the museum building itself. Lots of negotiations with the local authorities, but also with departments such as Forest & Nature and Flanders Heritage will take place in relation to this plan
- Spring 2008
The selected joint proposal of Stéphane Beel Architects, Origin Architecture and Engineering, Niek Kortekaas, Michel Devisgne and Arup (TV SBA) is developed further in consultation with the RMCA, the Buildings Administration and all concerned parties. Drawing up the site’s master plan is the first priority. The architectural firm (TV SBA), the RMCA and the Buildings Administration collaborate to draw a rough sketch. An internal ‘renovation’ steering committee keeps track of architectural progress and ensures that the RMCA’s requirements are met. An internal ‘general framework’ steering committee develops a completely new reference exhibition that must be included in the final design.
The rough sketch of the master plan is approved on 14 May and the TV SBA begins drafting the design.
- 23 October 2007
Museum press conference announcing the winning tender.
The renovation outline is revealed and schedule announced:
- 2007-2009: preparation and drawing up the master plan;
- 2010: the Museum’s centenary as impetus for modernization;
- 2013: renovation is completed
- 11 September 2007
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Didier Reynders, responsible for the Buildings Administration, accepts the tender of the multidisciplinary team of Stéphane Beel Architects, Origin Architecture and Engineering, Niek Kortekaas, Michel Devisgne and Arup NL.
They will study the general restoration, renovation and reorganization of the museum building and draw up a master plan for the entire site.
- 11 January 2007
The Buildings Administration takes its first look at the 11 tenders submitted for the renovation of the RMCA.
In the months that follow, a Building Administration and RMCA team of representatives evaluates them.
- 24 October 2006
Call for multidisciplinary consultancy team tenders is announced in the Belgian and European Tender Bulletin.
- 20 July 2006
The renovation of the Royal Museum for Central Africa is approved by the Federal Council of Ministers. The museum and the Belgian Building Agency can now jointly formulate and publish a general call for tender in the Belgian and European Bulletin des Adjudications.
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