Day 37/365 of Steel – Museum Aan De Stroom

MAS – Museum aan de stroom (17/5/2011)

11 years ago the MAS was inaugurated in the presence of King Albert and Queen Paola. Unlike Rotterdam, Antwerp does not have a real skyline because high-rise buildings are not allowed in many places. The MAS therefore ‘towers’ well above its surroundings. What is certain is that the sixty-metre tower has been a catalyst for the revival of the Eilandje.

Museum aan de Stroom located in Antwerp
Fig 1: Museum aan de Stroom located in Antwerp
Photo: T. Thielemans

The design by the Dutch architectural firm Neutelings Riedijk Architects was based on the principle of stacked boxes that are each rotated a quarter of a turn in relation to the previous one. This creates a spiral stacking. Between the concrete museum boxes, undulating glass façade plates with a height of 11 m have been installed. This gives visitors a breathtaking 360° panoramic view of the city and port of Antwerp.

Construction concept of the Museum aan de Stroom
Fig 2: Construction concept of the Museum aan de Stroom

A concept was chosen in which an in-situ concrete shaft forms the stability core of the building. Attached to this core, which functions as a solid backbone, are cantilevering steel trusses on which the heavily loaded museum floors rest. The trusses also carry the natural stone façade according to the principle of the “milkmaid’s yoke”.

On the upper storey, the combined Vierendeel trusses in the façade transfer the loads to two trusses at the core. By placing two attachment points of the different trusses opposite each other against the concrete core, the large tensile force could be applied through the concrete core by means of a steel coupling profile. As a result, anchoring in the concrete was not necessary and the deformations are minimal, because steel is much stronger and stiffer than concrete. (Source: Nationale Staalprijs)

The renowned Belgian steel builder Smulders signed for the complex construction and assembly of the steel structure. The result is amazing: steel, concrete, glass and natural stone each play their part with verve.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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