Remodelled NAI hotspot for architecture and design NAI, museum of architecture will reopen its doors to the public on 1 July 2011


After a renovation, the revamped Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) will open its doors on 1 July 2011. From that moment on the museum of architecture will be a provocative hub of knowledge for architects and designers as well as an exciting, appealing hotspot for everyone else for whom architecture is meaningful. Besides the renovation of the premises, the range of facilities and activities that the NAI has to offer has been given a thorough overhaul as well. The NAI will present an engaging package of activities, not only for professionals but also for architecture enthusiasts, students, teachers, schoolchildren, youngsters and tourists. 

The renovation

The NAI is situated in the architecture capital of the Netherlands, Rotterdam. It has housed one of the largest and finest architecture collections in the world since 1993. Almost 20 years after its completion, the complex has undergone a metamorphosis. A redesign by the original architect, Jo Coenen, was carried out under his personal supervision. The most eye-catching alteration is the new entrance, skirted by an expansive deck that allows visitors to stroll effortlessly from the street into the museum. Once inside, a spacious entrance area opens up with a café, terrace, bookshop and stairs to the Hands-on Deck. The Hands-on Deck is a remarkable new feature, created specially for children, youngsters and adults who are keen to design and build things themselves. The Auditorium will continue to be the venue for debates and lectures, while the new café invites visitors to come in and chat about their NAI experiences or to network.

Brand new presentations

The NAI offers not only inspiring new exhibitions such as ‘Dutchville’, ‘daringdesign’ and ‘Testify!’, but also new educational programmes, a wide-ranging programme of lectures and debates, the NAI café, and a large art and architecture bookshop. All this makes the new NAI the hotspot where those with an interest in architecture and design will feel more at home than ever before.  The NAI will of course continue to serve as the nation’s hub of knowledge for professionals. Architects, urban planners and designers are more than welcome at the informative lectures and inspiring debates, in the comprehensive library, and at high-profile networking events.

Permanently on show at the new NAI

Dutchville | Feel the city
As you leave the polder on foot, a city skyline gradually takes shape on the far horizon. And now, walking through busy city streets, cars whirl past and you’re almost trampled underfoot by crowds. You are in the very heart of the tumultuous city, in the exhibition “Dutchville”. In this new exhibition, the NAI museum for architecture presents its models in an extraordinary configuration: the models are not displayed on plinths in an empty gallery space, but are laid out like a typically Dutch city with new housing developments and historic centres. Residents of Dutchville each give their personal views of the city – and they can be frank in their honesty. But the big question is: how do you feel about the city?

Hands-on Deck | Get busy with architecture
The Hands-on Deck is a unique space in the museum’s heart that was specially designed for all those visitors who want to roll up their sleeves. Short films, games and construction materials challenge the visitor to design and to build. The Hands-on Deck is for all those, young and old, who are intrigued by the world around them. The Hands-on Deck is a perfect experimental workshop for groups from schools and colleges as well as for families visiting the NAI on their own. What’s more, access to the Hands-on Deck is free.


The Summer/Autumn 2011 Programme at the new NAI

daringdesign | Chinese and Dutch designers with guts
1 July 2011 – 8 January 2012
In terms of design, the Netherlands and China seem to be each other’s opposite: the small pioneer of conceptual design versus the economic superpower. But daring designers live and work in both countries – designers with ideas, designers with guts. With the exhibition “daringdesign”, the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) will present the most prominent 8 of them in Rotterdam. One by one they will show their eye-catching and sometimes highly controversial projects – from fashion collection to book, from scale model to art project.

From China: Ai Weiwei (architect/artist), Urbanus (firm of architects), TO MEET YOU (graphic design agency) and Ma Ke (fashion designer). From the Netherlands: Rem Koolhaas/OMA (firm of architects), Hella Jongerius (product designer), Alexander van Slobbe (fashion designer), and Irma Boom (graphic designer).

Testify! |The Consequences of Architecture
1 July – 13 November 2011
Can architecture help us achieve a sustainable society? ‘Testify!’ presents projects by various architects who have tried to do just that. These projects are drawn from around the world. The exhibition also provides a platform for the occupants, users and neighbours of these buildings, whether schools or homes, allowing them to share their thoughts about whether the architect’s intentions come off in practice.


Netherlands Architecture Institute

The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) is more than a museum of architecture. It is above all a cultural institute which is open to the public and which uses a variety of methods for communicating about the shaping of human space.
NAi Rotterdam
The NAI moved into its current premises in 1993. The striking building is situated at the edge of the Museumpark in the center of Rotterdam and was designed by Jo Coenen.The NAI stores important architecture archives and collections, and makes them accessible to the public. The institute offers facilities for research and a platform for discussion. The NAI presents exhibitions, lectures, debates and issues publications which aim to inform, inspire, and stimulate both professionals and the general public.

> Visitor’s information

Collection: Archives and Library
The NAI has one of the largest architecture collections in the world; eighteen kilometres of shelves containing drawings, sketches, models, photographs, books, journals and other materials. The NAI is entrusted with the safekeeping and management of these archives and collections and with making them accessible to the public. Virtually every prominent Dutch architect since 1800 is represented in the archives, which include the personal archives of such famous architects as Dudok, Cuypers, Berlage and De Klerk.
The NAI’s library is open to the public and contains over 35,000 books on architecture and related disciplines, plus an extensive range of Dutch and international architectural journals.Researchers, students, and anyone else interested may consult publications and archives in the reading room.
> More about the collection
> More about the library
Exhibitions and Symposiums
The NAI presents architecture, urban design, interior design and landscape architecture in more than twenty exhibitions it organizes every year. It also devotes a great deal of attention to developments in industrial and graphic design and other aspects of the designed environment. The NAI’s large collection often provides content for the exhibitions. The permanent exhibition "Living in the Lowlands" reveals the collection’s wealth of drawings, models and photographs. The highlights of this national treasure paint a picture of domestic life in the Netherlands over the last 150 years.
The NAI follows both national and international developments. Modern-day architecture from around the world is shown in changing exhibitions. Renzo Piano, Bernard Tschumi, Daniel Libeskind, Alvar Aalto, Yona Friedman, Itsuko Hasegawa, studio Asymptote (Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture), Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron are some of the architects who have been at the focus of exhibitions. The NAI offers a lively and varied program. Besides reflecting the Institute’s position towards current events, the program addresses contemporary issues such as "The design of the Netherlands" and "Sustainable building".
The NAI stimulates architectural debate by organizing lectures, symposiums, study trips and other events. These projects are intended to provides the professional audience with specialized information. They are often linked to other of the NAI activities such as exhibitions and publications. The NAI also offers room to projects initiated by third parties.
> NAI calendar
Guided Tours
During the guided tour "Behind the Scenes" that the NAI offers, the focus is on the unique architecture of its building, designed by Jo Coenen. The tours also take visitors to the NAI’s depot. Besides that the NAI organizes group tours through the exhibitions, for adults, children and students.
> More about guided tours
Foreign Visitors
Foreign visitors often use the NAI as a starting point for architecture trips in and around the Netherlands. For this purpose, the NAI offers lectures, tours etc. for foreign visitors.
> See also: NAI International
As a study center, the NAI generates many kinds of publication. NAI Publishers is an independent publishing house affiliated with the NAI. Some of its publications, such as exhibition catalogues, are linked to ongoing NAI activities. NAI Publishers also produces publications on its own initiative and for third parties. It runs a specialized bookshop (NAI Booksellers) in the NAI lobby.
The Netherlands Architecture Insititute’s Architecture Bulletin appears twice annually with views on the past, present and future of the built environment. The bulletin consists of essays in text and in image form – personal arguments and subjective reflections on architecture, on what does and doesn’t happen and how people think about that. In short, they are essays on the significance architecture can have.
> NAI Publishers
> NAI Booksellers
Throughout the year, the NAI organizes activities for children and teenagers. The program for primary and secondary schools includes workshops, tours and specific assignments connected to the ongoing exhibitions. A room in the NAI building is reserved for pupils completing school-related assignments and for exhibitions of the resulting models and drawings.
> More about Education
The NAI foyer has a museum café with a terrace by the reflecting pond. Admission to the café is free. The foyer, the auditorium (K.P.C. de Bazel Room) and the conference room (J.B. Bakema Room) can be rented by individuals, companies, and institutions. The NAI offers guided tours of the exhibitions and the building, with catering if desired.
> More about rental
Friends of the NAI
The object of the Friends of the NAI is to generate interest in the NAI’s activities. The association organizes excursions, lectures, and other activities for its members, and recruits sponsors for special projects.
> More about the Friends
Partners, Structural Sponsors & Sponsors
In order to realize its goals the NAI relies upon financial support from the government, grant-giving bodies and the business community. The NAI is supported by partnerships, structural sponsorship and sponsorship for activities. Partnerships and structural sponsorships are relationships lasting a number of years. Sponsorships for activities are one-off sponsorships for individual projects or events. By affiliating to the world’s largest architecture museum, the NAI’s partners and sponsors demonstrate their social commitment and afford themselves entry to the world of national and international architecture.

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