The Genieloods is a former military barrack that will be transformed into a centre for contemporary art. The barrack is located on the premises of the fortress and art centre Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen in The Netherlands. The fortress is part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam, a complex of fortresses, dikes, locks and other structures in a large circle around the capital and inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.


The Genieloods dates from 1896. The steel frame of the barrack is clad with one single layer of corrugated iron sheets. This results in an indoor climate that is unsuitable for exhibitions: in the summer it is extremely hot and in winter very cold.


Due to the fact that any alteration to a building with monumental status has to be reversible, we propose to clad the interior of the barrack with curtains made of light weight space blankets. The reflecting qualities of this NASA-developed material will keep the heat out in summer and in winter preserve the warmth produced by floor heating. During in-between seasons when the indoor climate is comfortable, the curtains will be mechanically rolled up revealing the original interior of the barrack again.


The mirroring qualities of the material will transform the narrow barrack into a visually infinite space, making the art visible from the front, back and top. Natural light will be reflected in countless ways creating good lighting conditions to exhibit art. The new exhibition space will be in sharp contrast with the dark exhibition spaces in the bunkers of the fortress itself.


Location: Vijfhuizen, The Netherlands
Client: Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen

Program: Art gallery

Area: 320 m2
Status: Competition entry 2010, 1st prize
Project Team: Jarrik Ouburg, CC-Studio, Studio Paulien Bremmer
Consultants: Henk Schellen, Technical University Eindhoven (building physics), DGMR (fire safety), Peter Dekker Installaties (screen systems)