The new Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS), designed by Rotterdam-based Neutelings Riedijk Architects as a sixty-metre-high tower landmark in Antwerp, Belgium, has recently been completed. Official opening is foreseen in Spring 2011.

MAS seeks to become a contemporary museum of, for and about the city and the world. Visitors will discover how Antwerp and the world have been indisputably linked with one another for hundreds of years.

Ten gigantic natural stone boxes are piled up as a physical demonstration of the gravity of history, full of historical objects left behind by ancestors. It is a storehouse of history in the heart of the old docks.

Each floor of the tower is twisted a quarter turn, so that it creates a huge spiral staircase. This spiral space, which is bordered by a wall of corrugated glass, is a public city gallery. A route of escalators carry visitors up from the square to the top of the tower. The spiral tower tells the story of the city, its port and its inhabitants.


Façades, floors, walls and ceilings of the tower are completely covered with large slabs of red Indian sandstone hand cleaved, making the image of a monumental stone sculpture. The four colours of the stone slabs based on a computerised pattern are divided on the façade.

The spiral gallery is lined with a huge curtain of corrugated glass. With its play of light and shadow, transparency and translucency of the undulating glass façade brings a lighthearted counterweight to the gravity of the stone sculpture.

To soften the monumental tower volume a pattern of metal ornaments has been put like a veil over the façade. The ornaments are shaped like hands, the logo of the City of Antwerp. Inside the building, this pattern continues through metal medallions.