28 Dec History & Science United in a Visionary Concept
Amsterdam based architectural firm ZJA has revealed their plans for a unique underwater museum that will showcase a 271-year-old vessel that was part of the Dutch East India Company. But the uniqueness of the project is not just the museum itself.
When the cargo ship, named the Amsterdam, was returning from its inaugural voyage in 1749 it hit a rough storm that damaged the vessel’s steering abilities. The ship’s captain maneuvered it to the coast of England near the town of Hastings, which is still its resting place, engulfed by sand.
ZJA will work with a group of industrial movers to excavate the historic vessel from the English Channel and transport it to a specially designed salvage dock. From that point, it will be sailed some 250 miles to the coast of the Netherlands. In this new setting, ZJA’s visionaries will design a steel and glass capsule that will permit visitors to explore the entire remains of the 131-foot-long vessel underwater. As they circle the ship, they will also be able to view the textiles, wine, and silver bullion of its cargo as archeologists study the ship live.
Working on the concept of showcasing history and science together, the project narrative states, “visiting this venue is like entering a theater that stages the investigation in progress and engages the public with the discoveries the divers and researchers do inside the wreck,”
In addition to the underwater exploration that visitors can undertake, a white-domed canopy made from tensile fabrics hoisted above the museum will provide a walkway for an aerial view of the vessel. It is also planned to have exhibition spaces, laboratories, and other research facilities for the scientists within the museum’s layout.
For ZJA, this is not just about creating an innovative design; it is about heritage, and having a chance to delve into what the Dutch East India Company was about. With the unique task of relocating this piece of Dutch treasure that will take several years, the museum is slated for a 2025 opening. We look forward to that historic moment.