Museum design isn't all about light and air. Security is important too.

Of all the infamous architectural instances of prizing form over function -- the various structural mishaps of the John Hancock tower, the Vdara Hotel death ray -- this may be the most costly.

After paintings worth hundreds of millions of dollars were swiped yesterday from the Rotterdam Kunsthal, security expert Ton Cremers said the building's design is to blame. The Dutch art museum was one of the first big projects of architect Rem Koolhaas, a Rotterdam native, and has been praised for its lightness and transparency. ArchDaily called the structure more of a cultural center than a museum -- one that allows "maximum flexibility."

Maximum security would also have been appreciated. According to the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, Cremers said the museum is a "gem" for the visitor, but a "dragon to protect."

"Once inside the building, thieves could easily walk through the entire museum. There were no extra compartments built for the expensive pieces," Cremers said, according to Dezeen. He thought the building's design forced curators to place valuable art near the exterior walls.

Among those taken were works by Picasso, Monet, Gauguin and Matisse.

Museum director Emily Ansenk denied the charges. "The Kunsthal has state-of-the-art security," she said.

Top image: Flickr user Roryrory.

HT Dezeen.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  2. photo: A vacant home in Oakland that is about to demolished for an apartment complex.
    Equity

    Fix California’s Housing Crisis, Activists Say. But Which One?

    As a controversy over vacancy in the Bay Area and Los Angeles reveals, advocates disagree about what kind of housing should be built, and where.

  3. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  4. A syringe sits on top of a car. Houses are behind it.
    Life

    The Changing Geography of the Opioid Crisis

    A new study shows that the country faces different opioid challenges in urban and rural areas.

  5. Environment

    The City Known for ‘Sewer Socialists’ Actually Has Great Sewers

    Milwaukee now averages a mere 2.4 combined sewer overflows a year, thanks to a massive underground tunnel, green infrastructure, and flood-control measures.

×