Manager Facility SCHUNCK, Sander Schoenmaekers

Five questions about the Art Depot - Sander Schoenmaekers

This year, the new Art Depot and Atrium will open at SCHUNCK. In this series, we ask employees and parties involved about their contribution to and vision of this enrichment of the Glaspaleis. Let's hear from Sander Schoenmaekers, facility manager at SCHUNCK. 

What is your role within this project?

As facility manager, I try to manage as many things as possible, drawing on the knowledge of the building that I have accumulated. I am the liaison between the municipality's real estate department, the project manager here, the steering committee and many others. In practice, I am mainly the contact person on the building; I arrange all sorts of things and make connections between the departments. The building belongs to the municipality of Heerlen, which makes cooperation with them close.

What is most special about this project?

First of all, the big names working on the project, such as Arets architects. But also the fact that we are realising something unique, and at the same time something very complex. A lot of technology is involved, and the routes that have to be taken - knowing that practically none of it should be visible - make it complicated. In addition, the materials have a high level of finishing. Of course, that's nice too, so the result will be there soon. We expand the museum in square metres, but at the same time we offer much more experience.

Did the process go according to plan?

I stepped in when the drawings were already there, but over time we did change some things. Like the glazing; the windows in the Art Depot have become larger than initially envisaged, and a different brightness has been chosen. We are now working on screens for the corridor of the Art Depot. Gradually and through testing, it turned out that using screens, even less UV rays reach the works, and there is less reflection on the windows. This is more pleasant for a visitor and better for preserving the works in the Art Depot. So these were not initially planned, but now turn out to be a welcome addition.

There will also be interactive lighting, operated by sensors, where each piece of art can be uniquely highlighted. The tree in the atrium - a collaboration with garden architect Peter Veenstra - was planned in the original drawings, but was subsequently scrapped. In the end, it did come back into the planning. An entire lighting plan had to be drawn up for it: special spotlights are used to supply it with light. Thanks to the lighting, the tree really pops out at night, which will be very beautiful.

Are there any other special things to consider?

It's different because the building belongs to the municipality of Heerlen. So you always look at each part to see who is responsible for what. For maintenance, but also for insurance, for instance. Major maintenance is the municipality's responsibility, but we put the lift and sliding doors in place. We do work well together in this, for instance on inclusion. For instance, we made the doors more accessible, because some parts of floor -1 were still not accessible for wheelchair users. By collaborating together with the department 'local inclusion' of the municipality, also the Art Depot and Atrium are now accessible for everyone.

What is possible once the Art Depot and Atrium are open?

During museum opening hours, the Atrium is accessible through the museum and exhibitions are programmed, and there is a possibility of using the space for events. Also for external parties. For example, drinks can be held for up to seventy people, or meetings can be held in the new meeting room. So you can soon (net)work among the art.

Read more about the Art Depot and Atrium