Academy of Art & Architecture by Wiel Arets Architects

Academy of Art & Architecture by Wiel Arets Architects

Project description of Maastricht Academy of Art & Architecture by Wiel Arets Architects:
Conceived as an extension to the existing Rijkshogeschool, the Maastricht Academy for the Arts provides new spaces for the school of visual arts and architectural design. The building is an incision into the body of the city, an entirely new and foreign organism invading its urban context, a process akin to the operation of a virus. Yet it is set in a discreet, almost camouflaged relation to the city, providing an enclosed public space that achieves an intimate and secluded condition from the main areas of urban activity.

The project includes the renewal of the existing Academy for the Arts, together with the extension affected by two buildings. Adjacent to the old building is the new structure that contains the auditorium, the library, an exhibition room, a bar and a roof garden. The connecting footbridge with translucent glass brick floor and ceiling leads one through the treetops into the workshop building that accommodates wood and steel workshops.

To follow Kenneth Frampton’s interpretation, this element recalls the design of the Dessau Bauhaus, spanning between the two volumes of the workshop and the four-storey public core.

To encourage a continuous dialogue, the design dwelt more on creating an environment that would be conducive to social interaction among the users of the building. This is affected through the circulation system, which dominates the plan. There is only one entrance to the entire complex, and only one ramp leading into the newly constructed auditorium, library, and bar. The aerial bridge through the treetops is also the only linkage to the other part of the extension. The adjoining patio is designed as a sculpture garden. Both students and professors are made to walk along the same route through the different faculties: Architecture, Fashion, Painting and Sculpture. The entire complex becomes an environment for continuous communication between students and professors.

project (title): Maastricht academy of art & architecture
location (address): Herdenkingsplein 12, 6211 PW Maastricht, the Netherlands
project team: Wiel Arets, Jo Janssen

collaborators: Lars van Es, Anita Morandini, René Holten, Maurice Paulussen
Models: Paulus Egers

site supervisors
furniture design
garden architect
date of design: 1989
date of completion: 1993
€ 8.000.000,- excl. BTW
€ 9.520.000,- incl. BTW

photographs: Kim Zwarts, Hélène Binet, Jan Bitter, Hizao Suzuki
client: Rijkshogeschool Maastricht
program: Renovation and extension of the existing Academy of Arts and Architecture with studios and general facilities


Building area 1300 m2
Room area 4000 m2
Circulation area 550 m2


Structural consultant: Ingenieursbureau Grabowsky & Poort
Lightning consultant: Ir. F.M.J.L. van de Wetering
Contractor: Laudy Bouw & Planontwikkeling bv