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The outdoor elevator is made completely of glass (photo by Luuk Kramer).

Mitsubishi Elevator Europe at The Mauritshuis

After a thorough renovation that took two years to complete, the Royal Dutch Mauritshuis held a grand reopening ceremony on June 27, 2014. Besides the beautiful collection of art, the James Bond‐like elevators are most certainly worth seeing, or even better, experienced.

The Renovation of the Mauritshuis

Located directly next to the courtyard of the Dutch parliament, the Mauritshuis houses the Royal Cabinet of Paintings, featuring the best Dutch artwork from the Golden Age. The collection, displayed in a beautiful 17th‐century building, includes iconic paintings such as Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and “View of Delft,” Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s last self‐portrait and “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp,” Paulus Potter’s “The Bull,” Jan Steen’s “Oysters” and Carel Fabritius’ “The Goldfinch.”

The Mauritshuis doubled in size during the renovation through an underground extension to the building across the street, the corner building of “The Literary Society De Witte.” The process of connecting two underground buildings and lowering the foundation of the new wing was a feat in itself. The small area within which work had to take place – located next to the office of the Dutch Prime Minister, “Het Binnenhof,” the political heart of the Netherlands – posed a challenge to the contractors, but it, too, was overcome. Despite this extension, little of the museum’s character changed, because the design produced by Hans van Heeswijk Architects preserved the building’s appearance and homey atmosphere.

Never before has an elevator with a supporting structure made completely of glass been constructed that could endure the elements.

The most eye‐catching change is the relocation of the main entrance back to the forecourt. Visitors no longer enter the museum through the old service entrance but descend to a bright and spacious underground lobby that connects the two buildings. This allows the main gates to be opened. By constructing the lobby underneath the forecourt of the museum, the original streetscape remains intact. The cash register, cloakroom, information desk and new museum shop are located in the lobby. From here, visitors can take an elevator up to the historical building or new wing. The permanent art collection can be found in the historical building, and the exhibition space, restaurant, library, event hall and “The Kunstwerkplaats” are located in the new wing.

 The Elevators

Mitsubishi Elevator Europe outfitted the Mauritshuis with three truly spectacular elevators that fit perfectly into the pleasant atmosphere of the museum as a whole. The first view visitors have of change in the building’s appearance is from the forecourt, which now includes a striking, yet very elegant and transparent, round glass elevator shaft. This elevator takes visitors down to the underground lobby. The elevator is unique, because it is made entirely of glass, including the guide rails. To achieve maximum transparency, Mitsubishi Elevator Europe designed a cab and shaft not supported by steel construction. Never before has such an elevator that could endure the elements been constructed. The entrance is 10 m high and particularly spacious to accommodate visitors with limited mobility, such as those who require wheelchairs. The other two elevators are also made mostly of glass and connect the two buildings via the underground lobby. In particular, the elevator from the lobby to the historical building is very special, because it rises almost invisibly from underneath the marble floor up to where the original entrance of the Mauritshuis once was. Its three entrances lead to different areas of the museum, each on a different floor.

Elevator 1

(round outdoor elevator at forecourt)

  • Brand: WDE
  • Type: GPE‐H (special/panoramic)
  • Capacity: 1250 kg or 16 persons
  • Travel: 5.805 m
  • Speed: Maximum 0.6 mps
  • Stops: 2
  • Door type: Central opening
  • Entrance width: 1,200 X 2,300 mm
  • Car doors: Round glass doors fitted with a stainless-steel bottom drive unit
  • Landing doors: Round glass doors
  • Door safety: Multiple photo rays constructed in the upper door guide rail and kickplate
  • Wall finish: Stainless steel with brush detail
  • Car dimensions: Diameter 1,840 X 2,350 mm (internal dimensions)

Elevator 2

(Royal elevator to original Mauritshuis)

  • Brand: WDE
  • Type: GPE‐H (special/panoramic)
  • Capacity: 1275 kg or 17 persons
  • Travel: 7.41 m
  • Speed: Maximum 0.6 mps
  • Stops: 3
  • Entrances: 3
  • Door type: Central opening
  • Entrance width: 900 X 2,300 mm and 900 X 3,000 mm (shaft door at second floor)
  • Car and landing doors: Straight glass doors fitted with a bottom drive unit
  • Door security: Photo rays
  • Wall finish: Stainless steel
  • Car dimensions: 1,200 X 2,300 X 2,370 mm

Elevator 3

(diagonal elevator to new wing)

Brand: WDE
Type: GPE‐T with machine room at top of shaft (1:1)
Capacity: 1350 kg or 18 persons
Travel: 20.85 m
Speed: 1 mps
Stops: 8 (diagonal)
Drive system: Electric traction
Position drive system: Top of shaft in a separate machine room
Door type: Single telescopic, central opening
Entrance width: 900 X 2,300 mm (small side), 1,200 X 2,300 mm (long side)
Door security: Photo rays
Car door: Straight glass doors equipped with top drive (narrow side). Glass is on the top; bottom encased in brushed stainless steel. Straight glass doors fitted with bottom drive (long side).
Landing door: Straight glass doors. Glass orchestra without blinding of the glass to 1,100 mm height. Therefore, in accordance with current regulations concerning clip danger (especially to children’s fingers), the glass was constructed in such a way that the whole surface is one with the stainless-steel frame. The gap between the door panels and jambs hereby may not be greater than 3 mm and must be maintained by the owner and/or user.
Wall finish: Stainless steel
Car dimensions: 2,450 X 1,100 X 2,400 mm

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