S.M.A.K. (Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art) in Ghent is taking an important step towards the long-awaited expansion of the museum. The Ghent urban development company sogent is seeking a multidisciplinary design team through the Flemish Government Architect’s Open Call procedure. The team will draw up the design for a renewed S.M.A.K., comprising the current building and the so-called ‘Casino end’ of the Floraliënhal on the opposite side of the building cluster.
S.M.A.K. is located in the Citadel Park, Ghent’s largest city park. The entire site will be upgraded over the coming years. To this end, the ‘Renewal Plan for Citadel Park, Ghent’ was approved in 2013, followed by the Master Plan for the entire cluster of buildings in 2021. These plans describe an overarching vision and contains several sub-studies, including for the expansion of S.M.A.K.
The museum needs more space. Today, there is only just enough room for temporary exhibitions. In a new museum building, S.M.A.K. also wants to realise galleries in which 500 works from its own collection can be permanently shown. Moreover, the existing premises do not currently meet international museum standards in terms of climate control.
The urban development company sogent is using the Flemish Government Architect’s Open Call procedure to find a multidisciplinary design team that is highly process-orientated, has a strong affinity with the heritage values of the cultural-historical landscape, and has a mastery of the museum programme on the ends of the Floraliënhal.
The brief consists of several parts. First, to envisage what the future, bipartite S.M.A.K. will look like, incorporating the current building on the one hand, and the Casino end on the other. Secondly, to examine how the two parts can be connected. The full study and design brief will be preceded by the drafting of a development vision.
“Thanks to the Open Call, we can prepare the dossier for incoming administration teams of the Flemish Government and the City of Ghent, starting in 2024. We are laying the groundwork so that they can then decide to give the final green light to this project.” Sami Souguir, Alderman for Urban Development, Chairman of sogent.
Image : S.M.A.K., photo Michiel De Cleene
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