Mecanoo's Kaap Skil, maritime and beachcombers' museum, on the Dutch island of Texel has been awarded the Daylight Award 2012. The prestigious prize, awarded by the Living Daylights Foundation, honors projects that reach an optimum result in combining daylight, artificial light and design.
One can almost feel the weather because of the transparency of the building, according to the jury. "Sun, clouds, thunder and rain: outdoors comes inside as perception and emotion and this is a core quality for a building with the Wadden Sea at your doorstep."
Kaap Skil plays with daylight and the contrast between daylight and artificial light, lightness and darkness in various ways. The glass facade in front of the wooden boards affords an inviting view of the famous North Holland skies to visitors of the museum café. Inside the building, these boards cast a linear pattern of daylight and shadow creating an atmosphere infused with light and shelter.
The showpiece of the museum is an 18-meter long, four-meter deep model of the Reede van Texel in the basement, displaying in great detail the impressive spectacle of the dozens of ships anchored off the coast of the Wadden Island during the Golden Age. In that period the fleet of the Dutch East India Company would set its anchor at the Reede van Texel before sailing off to the 'Orient'.
Visitors are drawn around the Reede van Texel by projections and animations, creating an intimate space that harbors a sense of mystery. On the first floor the sky floods the objects on display with light. The movable showcases of robust steel frames and glass create a transparent effect so that the objects in the collection seem to float within the space. The beams which pierce the skylights of the high gabled roofs give visitors the feel of being under water.
The interior of the museum and the two exhibitions are designed by Kossmann.dejong from Amsterdam.