Image: Catch your moment

The new home of the Freedom Museum in the Netherlands is flexible and sustainable, providing a huge uninterrupted span and stable internal climate. What’s more it resembles a parachute, a defining image of liberation.

Situated in a rural landscape close to the German border, the Freedom Museum commemorates operations on the Western Front during the Second World War while reflecting more broadly on concepts and questions of freedom. With increased visitor numbers and an ageing building, the museum needed a new home.

Vast span and controlled climate

The solution chosen by the museum is the Shaded Dome™ which creates an eye-catching landmark and offers a free span of 60 metres to accommodate reception area, cinema, café, exhibition rooms and shop. The large span and controlled indoor climate are ideal for museum exhibits requiring stable temperature and humidity. The unprecedented possibilities for shape and volume offered by the structure have enabled the final building to resemble a parachute.

Sustainability and low carbon footprint

The Shaded Dome™ was developed and supplied by Shaded Dome Technologies, founded by ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects, Royal HaskoningDHV and Poly-Ned. It arose from a project to create a climate-controlled sports facility in demanding conditions and has proved such a successful concept that it now has much wider applications.

Principles of sustainability apply to the materials, operation and construction of the dome. Lightweight, its structural features are equivalent to traditional structures with a high mass. It can be installed within a couple of weeks and, as required, can be taken down and moved elsewhere. An ingenious chimney effect between the two skins provide a natural cooling system allowing it to consume about one-third of the energy of other tents to create a healthy, pleasant micro-climate. The museum building runs without natural gas, using heat pumps and generating its own energy from solar panels on the outer skin.