S.M.A.K., the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, is a nationally and internationally renowned museum with an exceptionally diverse collection from the post-war period to the present day. The museum places the artist at the centre of its activities and addresses a broad and diverse audience.
S.M.A.K. grew out of a citizens’ initiative. Bearing this background in mind, S.M.A.K. wishes to remain, also in the future, an open house focused on both the city and the world. The new museum is to be a landmark that anchors contemporary art in an urban, Flemish and international fabric. Education and accessible public activities are levers to strengthen the new museum as a place of reference for the city, the region and Europe.
The current museum building only offers just enough space for temporary exhibitions. In a new museum building, S.M.A.K. wants to permanently present to the public 500 works from its own collection (totalling 3,500 works), in addition to the temporary exhibitions. Moreover, the existing building does not meet international museum standards on air-conditioning.
The ambition for a new S.M.A.K. is a well-equipped and sustainable building that meets international standards for museums, where the museum’s own collection can generously come into its own and where temporary exhibitions can be organized and hosted. In addition, S.M.A.K. is seeking a stronger connection with the public space of the park and its ecosystem, as well as shared use with the neighbouring Museum of Fine Arts and Ghent University Museum.
S.M.A.K. is located in the Citadelpark, Ghent’s largest city park. This park is recognized as a listed cultural-historical landscape. Since 1999, S.M.A.K. has been housed in the former casino building, which is part of a large and centrally located cluster of buildings in the park. All these buildings face the impressive Floraliënhal, built for the Ghent International Exposition of 1913.
The project for a new S.M.A.K. fits in the ‘Renewal Plan Citadelpark, Ghent’ drawn up by the city of Ghent in 2013. Specifically for the cluster of buildings, this plan envisages a reorganization of the footprint, the enhancement of the Floraliënhal as a central, covered extension of the park and a reorientation of the buildings around the Floraliënhal: as pavilions that are guests in the park.
The design for a new S.M.A.K. should be seen as an important link in the transformation of the cluster of buildings in the Citadelpark. Several steps preceded this design assignment. Through the Open Call OO2012, the above design grammar for Citadelpark was drawn up. Following on from this, in Open Call OO3502, a master plan was drawn up in 2021 by 51N4E bvba and NU architectuuratelier for the concrete transformation of the central cluster of buildings with a clear vision for the central Floraliënhal. The manifesto ‘Le Musée et son Double’ (Philippe Van Cauteren / Peter Swinnen) was put forward by S.M.A.K. in late 2020 as an exploration of its future on this site.
While, according to the future vision for the park, S.M.A.K. has to reduce its size, the museum is simultaneously experiencing a great need for additional space. Within the current footprint, the master plan for the cluster of buildings proposes, as a solution, to occupy, within the current footprint, the two opposite end buildings of the Floraliënhal as a bipartite museum. The design for a new S.M.A.K. on the ends of the Floraliënhal should integrate itself in a non-dominant way in the cultural-historical park environment, in direct relation to the new public space that the Floraliënhal will become. The design proposal will relate judiciously to previous studies.
For budgetary reasons, and to strengthen the quality of and support for the project among administrators, citizens and stakeholders, the commissioning authorities have chosen to have the all-inclusive study and design assignment for the realization of a new S.M.A.K. preceded by the drafting of a definitive development vision. During this phase, the focus is on the translation of the programme for the two new end buildings of the Floraliënhal, in their immediate park environment, in the form of a robust sector plan (given the finality still to be investigated in the fixed assignment part) and a 3D representation in real environmental images with indication of the materials.
The two public parts of the new museum, as the new ends of the historic Floraliënhal, need a supporting museum backbone. The above master plan assumes a realization of this backbone as an underground, connecting volume on the site. However, the city of Ghent has not as yet taken a decision on whether this museum backbone will be realized underground on the site, or at an as yet undetermined location outside the park site. Design and process research should map out the different options in order to allow the city authorities to make a reasoned decision on the final project definition and the programme of requirements as a basis for the conditional parts of the assignment to be awarded.
The commissioning authority is looking for a multidisciplinary team with great process-readiness willingness, a strong affinity with the heritage values of the cultural-historical landscape, and mastery of the museum programme.
Included in the assignment and fee
Conditional Part A:
- architecture, stability, techniques,
- sewerage and rainwater drainage
- fire safety
- heritage (drafting of demolition account for the existing ends and advice in the context of the connection to the Floraliënhal and park), acoustics, layout of the immediate surroundings, demolition follow-up, process assistance.
Conditional Part B:
- architecture, stability, techniques
- sewerage and rainwater drainage
- fire safety
- heritage specialization (consultancy in the context of the connection with Floraliënhal and park).
Excluded from the assignment and the fee
- Safety coordination
- EIA experts
- Fixed part: Development vision: fixed sum: €150,000 (excl. VAT)
- Conditional Part A: All-inclusive study and design assignment for the realization of a new bipartite S.M.A.K. at the ends of the Floraliënhal, including supervision and monitoring of the execution of the works: fixed fee percentage: 12% (excl. VAT)
- Conditional Part B: All-inclusive study and design assignment for the shell structure of the underground parts for a new S.M.A.K. on the Citadel site, including supervision and monitoring of the execution of the works: fixed fee percentage: 8.5% (excl. VAT)
The fees for the conditional assignment parts will be fixed based on the approved construction budget. The fees will follow the evolution of the health index.
The candidate must be registered with the Order of Architects (or equivalent - see selection guide 2.1.1)
- At least 2 architecture experts with 10 years’ experience as project manager on a public project with a construction budget of at least €10 million, excl. VAT.
- At least one of these 2 experts can show at least 10 years’ experience in projects for a Belgian government.
- One of the reference projects shows that the candidate has experience in designing a public building for a Belgian government.
- One of the reference projects shows the candidate’s experience in designing a building in direct relation to a valuable cultural-historical site.
- One of the reference projects shows that the candidate has experience in building a project with a specific relation to public (park) space.
- One of the reference projects has a minimum construction budget of €10,000,000 excl. VAT
The following holds for these reference projects:
- The references should explain what role the designer played in the submitted project.
- The references show how the designer deals with the existing context and surroundings.
- The reference projects can be either built, under construction, or in the design phase. Competition entries are allowed if the assignment was awarded to the candidate.
Selection and awards criteria
See the selection guideline
The drafting of a development vision (fixed part), the all-inclusive study and design assignment for the construction of a new S.M.A.K., Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art (conditional part A) and the all-inclusive study and design assignment for the shell structure of the underground parts for a new S.M.A.K. (conditional part B), within the cluster of buildings in the Citadelpark in Ghent
- Project description
- ALTSTADT office for architecture, Xaveer De Geyter Architectenbureau BVBA
- aNNo architecten, FELT architectuur & design, MONADNOCK
- Caruso St John
- Christ & Gantenbein AG, Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen
- David Kohn Architects, noAarchitecten
Jan Hoetplein 1 ,
- Selection: 25 Sep 2023
- First briefing: 17 Nov 2023
- Second briefing: 20 Dec 2023
- Submission: 26 Feb 2024
- Jury: 22 Mar 2024
Jouri De Pelecijn
Competitive procedure with negotiation
Between €80,000,000 and €90,000,000 (conditional parts). After completion of the development vision will a refinement of the estimate be made and will a correct split of the construction budget be made between the conditional assignment parts A and B (excl. VAT) (excl. Fees)
See project description
€30,000 (excl. VAT) per candidate - 5 candidates