The N. V. Dutch Gasunie donated 25 million guilders to Groningen in 1987. Because of this, it became possible to construct a brand new building. The old building didn’t meet the demands of that time anymore.
In 1990, a committee picked a new location for the museum. The Groninger Museum had to be established in the Verbindingskanaal between the south of the centre and the main station on a location that connects the station area with the city centre.
The design of the Groninger Museum looks like an elongated island. It consists of three large volumes in the water and it is connected by hallways and two squares. The whole had to be elongated and consist of small buildings. Because of this type of architecture, the original view was preserved for Groningen’s residents. At the same time, the shipping traffic remained possible through the Verbindingskanaal.
Main architect Alessandro Mendini pulled in guest architects for the design of the new museum, which was directed by Frans Haks at that time. He invited designer Michele de Lucchi from Italy, Philippe Starck from Paris, and Coop Himmelblau with offices in Vienna and LA. They also cooperated with Dutch architects and designers, such as the Groningse architect bureau Team 4, Albert Geertjes, and Geert Koster.
The building is a perfect example of postmodernism. Mendini’s basic ideas were: no hierarchy in art disciplines, excessive use of decorations, and collaboration with guest designers. This established a diverse interplay of spaces.
The building was yielded, and opened by Queen Beatrix in 1994.