Continium. Cube. Columbus. What sounds like characters in a comic book series is really the three defining components in "C-City", a new museum district located at the entrance into the Dutch-German border town of Kerkrade. Designed by Rotterdam-based Shift Architecture Urbanism, the €20.5 million project recently broke ground and is currently scheduled to open by the end of 2015.
C-City will bring technology, science, and design in one integrated museum district. Next to the existing Discovery Centre Continium will be the C-Square, a sunken-square space for student labs, restaurants, and other public amenities. C-Square will also serve as an underground pathway landscape that connects all of C-City's facilities.
The Continium will also be joined by the Cube and Columbus buildings. The Cube will house The Netherland's first design museum whereas Columbus was designed as an inverse planetarium theater — making it the first building of its kind in Europe. In addition to the museum galleries, C-City will include shared facilities for conferences, events, workshops, and educational programs.
Read on for further details about C-City's design from Shift Architecture Urbanism:
"A large part of the new 7,500 m2 program is located underground: The sunken square, the main quality of the existing museum, will be extended underneath the new volumes, creating a continuous underground landscape connecting all the facilities of C-City. In addition to the new museum square, titled C-Square, the underground area consists of a central entrance hall, a restaurant, student labs, a patio and tunnels towards Cube and Columbus."
"Cube, the design museum, is literally a cube. A glass plinth creates the illusion of a volume hovering above the red underground landscape. Together with the patio, the glass plinth allows for natural light in the temporary exhibition space which is located underneath the cube and it creates view lines towards the public space."
"Cube is a vertical exhibition machine offering its programmers maximal freedom and flexibility. The various floors of the building create space for a changing set of design labs and exhibitions. Its top floor offers a multifunctional event space with panoramic views of Limburg and Kerkrade. C-City will create programs for the Cube in collaboration with the German Red Dot Award, London's Design Museum, and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York."
"Columbus is a spherical building, half of which protrudes above ground and half of which is hidden beneath it. The lower half is occupied by the Earth Theatre, where a 16-meter wide, hollow projection sphere can be viewed from two rings of glass balconies."
"This inverted planetarium model was inspired by the experience of an astronaut looking back towards planet earth. In the upper half of the Columbus Sphere, underneath the dome, the first National Geographic 3D cinema in Europe will show National Geographic-produced films and documentaries."
"An important part of the communal functions in C-City are located in the 80 meter long beam volume, hovering above the sunken entrance zone. The beam serves as a giant canopy for the pedestrian route from the train station through the museum district towards the town centre. The beam rests on a minimal amount of columns, emphasizing its floating character whilst keeping the entrance hall underneath as open as possible."
"The public walkways crossing through C-City make the museum district part of the surrounding city space. From the walkways, pedestrians can get a peek into C-City such as through the entrance hall, C-Square, and the temporary exhibition hall underneath the Cube."
"A north-south axis, which leads right through the entrance hall, connects C-Square to the district’s forecourt. This allows the museum square to be an extension to the public realm of Kerkrade, while also allowing train passengers to wait in C-City for their connection. The combination of public transport with a museum district fits perfectly into the mission of creating a 'museum without boundaries'."
Client: Continium, Kerkrade, NL
Architecture and Urbanism: Shift Architecture Urbanism, Rotterdam, NL
Project architects: Thijs van Bijsterveldt, Oana Rades, Harm Timmermans
Team: Pieter Heymans, Rene Sangers, Davide Prioli, Thomas Grievink, Dalia Zakate Advisor construction: ABT, Delft
Advisor building code and fire safety: Bureau Bouwkunde, Rotterdam, NL
Advisor Installations: Bremen Bouwadvies, Heerlen, NL
Construction management: Bremen Bouwadvies, Heerlen, NL
Contractor: Mertens Bouwbedrijf, Weert, NL
Contractor installations: Spie, Elsloo, NL
Execution construction: Van de Laar, Eindhoven, NL
Click the thumbnails below for more images.