The post-war period
After the death of Helene Kröller-Müller it quickly became clear that the Great Museum would never be built. Henry van de Velde’s ‘transitional museum’ was renamed the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller.
In 1953 the museum building was enlarged with the addition of a congress wing and a sculpture gallery. The architect was again Henry van de Velde. Museum director A.M. Hammacher, who wanted to make sculpture a new museum speciality, specifically requested an open, well-lit space in which he could display all the facets of the large and, in many cases, coloured sculptures.
In 1965, director Rudi Oxenaar came to the conclusion that the ‘transitional’ structure could no longer satisfy the requirements for a modern museum. The museum building, which had been intended as a temporary solution, was seriously lacking in both technical facilities and space. Dutch architect Wim Quist was commissioned to design a large addition. The new museum wing was opened in 1977. Among its distinctive features were the long corridors with plenty of glass and a broad view of the surrounding woodlands and sculpture garden. The addition also included new, spacious museum rooms and an imposing, large sculpture gallery for displaying extremely large sculptures.
In 2005 Van de Velde’s building was ready for a thorough renovation. The old wing was given a fireproof, copper roof and a new light control system, making the daylight levels fully adjustable. More exhibition space was created by making former studios part of the museum proper. The museum also opened a new information centre.
In 2010, Wim Quist, the architect who designed the new wing dating from the 1970's, appeared in the Dutch TV programme 'Architecturen'. The episode took a closer look at a number of museums built in different building styles: the Groninger Museum, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, De Paviljoens Almere and the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. Watch the episode here