The future of the Museumpark is in a state of flux. To grasp the subject, Het Nieuwe Instituut gave two teams of designers, artists, urban designers and storytellers a commission entitled Tracking Traces, asking them to come up with a new vision for this Rotterdam park. How could 'traces' of the park and those of surrounding cultural and medical institutes engage with one another in better ways?
A park with five world-renowned museums and a debate centre must surely form the cultural heart of a city. Add to that internationally renowned institutes in the fields of science, health care and education that also border the park, and you have a park in the city that deserves to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, however, Museumpark is often a construction site, lacks any natural meeting place, and is not a green oasis. So what will become of this park?
Big Museumpark 2020
Museumpark is surrounded by the cultural and scientific institutes of Rotterdam. Since the park has always had to adapt to accommodate buildings, and a new collection building will probably be added to Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, the designers asked how the park could expand. Can we enlarge the park so that the buildings are no longer situated around the park but in the park? How can we transform the Museumpark road into a green feature? Where should we let Big Museumpark begin? Such questions resulted in the Big Museumpark concept, which will be presented during Museum Night in the form of redesigns for two parts of Museumpark – two temporary gardens for the park. The BIG MUSEUMPARK team consists of artists from Observatorium and urban designers from De Urbanisten. They were invited to focus specifically on the space of Museumpark. Which traces can be found in the park and what potential has probably been overlooked? Now that a new museum collection building may possibly be constructed, the question is what will remain of the park in the future.
Milk and Fire
The talented people who work in the various top institutes around the park will be challenged, by means of a big fire, to imagine the many possibilities for collaboration with one another. Artists and actors will draw on interviews to create an inspiring radio play and a special installation where visitors can listen to the stories behind the institutes around the park. In earlier times there was a farm on Melkkoppad where Rotterdammers went to buy milk and cream and meet one another. Milk and Fire will fan a fire so that the future Museumpark will be a place where Rotterdammers can literally “get to know” one another and the worlds of art, education, health care and science. The MILK AND FIRE team consists of the artists Yasser Ballemans, Maurice Meewisse and Daan Draait. They are focusing attention on the institutes around the park. What traces of these institutes are worth presenting? Those traces could take the form of exceptional objects, interesting discussions or innovative processes. If you design streets and cars, you get streets and cars. If you design places and people, you get places and people. William H. Whyte For the most recent developments around Museumpark, see http://www.rotterdam-hoboken.nl