Museum of Moluccan Culture

Since 1986, the Museum of Moluccan Culture in Utrecht collected and exhibited the cultural heritage of the Moluccan community in the Netherlands. Alongside exhibition spaces, the Museum of Moluccan Culture offered a knowledge centre, music theatre and a Moluccan culinary café.

In the museum, the layout was somewhat chaotic with the functions fragmented across different adjoining buildings. For the envisioned renovation, we were commissioned to give clarity to the layout and add a proper entrance and foyer in 2010. Unfortunately, due to inadequate financial means, the Museum of Moluccan Culture had to close its doors in October 2012.

Our design connected and structured the different museum activities by creating a central focus. The new extension replaced a part of the existing building from the 1980s and utilised the currently unused central courtyard. A strategically placed volume containing the museum shop and kitchen divided the building extension into two zones: a new spacious foyer that could accommodate a larger cafe, and an additional exhibition room for temporary exhibitions.

The varying qualities of light gave each zone a different atmosphere. Adjoining the terrace and garden, the foyer and café are light and spacious, bathed in daylight thanks to the extensive facade glazing. The enclosed exhibition room is surrounded by the walls of the monumental nineteenth century buildings along the Biltstraat and the Kruisstraat; here an impressive opaque glass roof light generated ideal indirect light for exhibitions. The white walls created a serene atmosphere and luxurious oak flooring contributed a feeling of warmth and intimacy.


Location: Utrecht, Netherlands
Client: Museum Maluku
Year: 2009-2010
Status: On hold
Team: Serge Schoemaker, Dik Houben, Hoda Khanbani
Collaborator: Jean-Paul Hitipeuw

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