Ghent considering expanding Museum of Contempory Art

The city authorities in Ghent (East Flanders) are considering how they can ensure that more of the City Museum of Contemporary Art’s (SMAK) collection can be put on permanent display. Of the 2,000 works of art owned by the museum, 500 of the best pieces were selected by SMAK’s management.


A study was carried out to look at how much space would been needed if this were to be achieved. The study found that the museum would need to almost double its floor space.  How this could be achieved and further how much it would cost is still unclear. What is clear though is that 205,500 M³ would be required. All avenues are currently being explored, including a completely new building. Currently, the SMAK Museum is housed in an antiquated and poorly isolated building in Ghent’s Citadel Park.

It is not yet clear whether the current building could be expanded. However, those that run the museum say that the extra space is definitely required.

The museum’s Director Philippe Van Cauteren told journalists that "The collection is of the essence here and not the building it is housed in”.

A new SMAK would contain halls dedicated solely to the work of one artist. These artists would include Joseph Beuys, Berlinde De Bruyckere and Michaël Borremans.

The volume study at the museum was carried out by OYO Architects and will be passed on to Ghent’s new City Cabinet after next month’s local elections.  

Read our interview with Philippe Van Cauteren that was published in April of this year.