As an artists’ institute nurturing top talent, the Rijksakademie provides accommodation for over fifty artists’ studios and consequently offers room for new exciting art to emerge. However, not only what takes place inside the Rijksakademie is interesting. The outside, our home, a combination of nineteenth century and contemporary architecture, proves to be quite unique as well.
The Rijksakademie resides in the state monument the ‘Kavallerie Kazerne’. These former cavalry barracks in Amsterdam were built in 1864 and could accommodate two hundred horses and men. In the mid-eighties, Dutch architect Koen van Velsen was recruited to rebuild the barracks, to which he also added an extra structure to further accommodate the Rijksakademie. In 1992, we moved in.
The Rijksakademie building is now fully equipped to be an artist’s residency; the architecture and infrastructure reflect this purpose. The new additional structure Van Velsen placed in the inner courtyard consists out of two towers in which the collections, library, artist documentation, offices and project spaces are housed. The historical quadrangular part of the building provides a place of peace, calm and concentration, with the former stables housing the majority of the technical workshops and the upper floors and former riding school providing space for the fifty-five individual studios.
Unfortunately, after twenty years, the future of our beloved location is uncertain. The government is developing new policy for public buildings in the cultural sector, and together with the planned cuts on the cultural budgets, our accommodation in the “Kavalerie Kazerne” becomes uncertain as well. Next week, the Dutch parliament will discuss the matter, and the outlines of the new policy are expected at the beginning of the summer. At that time we expect to know more about whether – and in what form – the Rijksakademie can remain at the present location.
We will keep you posted….
Text by DS
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