The iconic building by Rem Koolhaas remains a magnet for tourists. In 2018, the Kunsthal organised a small exhibition to put the building in the spotlights. A concertina-fold booklet with fun facts about the history, architecture and artworks surrounding the building was also produced. For 2019 it is our continued ambition to exploit and promote the building in a more intensive way.
In 2018, third-party use of the Auditorium and the KunsthalLAB, as well as the ensuing revenues, again grew. In order to exploit these spaces even better – for our own programme as well as for third-party usage –, in 2018 the Kunsthal invested in structural modernisation, most notably of the audio-visual facilities.
The Kunsthal keeps investing in the physical and online customer journey. To improve the accessibility for people with disabilities we have been collaborating with the ‘Vereniging van Gehandicaptenorganisaties Rotterdam’, a pressure group for the disabled. In 2018, thanks to a contribution by the ‘Stichting Bevordering voor de Volkskracht’, this resulted in an audio induction loop for the deaf and hard of hearing in the Auditorium. In the wardrobe we have placed an extra handrail and a number of stairs have been clearly marked. Of course, well-functioning elevators and an accessible outdoor terrace are also of great importance to this group of people. The audio-visual infrastructure of the Auditorium has also been modernised thanks to the Job Dura Fund and a private donation. Online we have taken our first steps in the direction of enhancing our service for online visitors with special e-ticketing and improving the visibility of events on our website.
For 2019 we are planning to restore the chairs in the Auditorium and take on the renovation of the entrance area (store and box office). We had intended to do this in 2018, but were unable to because of the high visitor numbers. The purpose is twofold: improving the customer journey by realising a smoother way of moving through the building for our visitors and increasing our revenues by expanding the retail area. In addition we are planning the renovation of the office to bring the working conditions (climate, air supply, light and wiring) up to speed with the current standards for a good working environment.
We will also invest in exhibition lighting. We need to bring the lighting up to date to meet the demands of our artistic partners. This will also lead to a substantial saving of energy.
For a number of other matters relating to the building, the municipality now has to make its move. Among other things, these concern the improvement of the accessibility, lighting and signposting of the Museumpark and the Museumpark car park, as well as the renovation of the terrace/square between the Kunsthal and the Natural History Museum. As the tree roots continue to push their way up through the cobble stones, the square and the outdoor terrace of the Kunsthal Café in particular are difficult to access for people in wheelchairs or with mobility problems.
In 2018, 622 guided tours, concerning the exhibitions and the building, were booked; nearly twice as many as in 2017. The most-frequently booked guided tours accompanied the exhibitions Hyperrealism Sculpture, Viktor&Rolf and Action<>Reaction.