DGMR/Actueel en kennis/Nieuws/Visitor Center at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten

Visitor Center at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten

Last month, the visitor center opened at the American Battle Monuments Commission’s (ABMC) Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten. In a clearing on the grounds stands the building of concrete, natural stone and glass, which was designed by Kaan Architects. Karres and Brands did the landscape design. DGMR provided advice on building physics, acoustics and fire safety.


The ABMC commissioned the visitor center and wants the building to inform visitors about the history of the cemetery through exhibitions. Buried in the cemetery are soldiers who fought for the U.S. in World War II in southern Limburg, the Ardennes and the Ruhr area. There are 8,300 burials. The names of about 1,300 missing soldiers can also be seen on the Walls of the Missing in the cemetery.

Much of the facade of the exhibition space in the building is made of glass, so that the surroundings also become part of the exhibition. This requires extra attention to preventing reverberation in the exhibition spaces behind the facade. The design by Kaan Architects is further characterized by tight detailing. For example, the glass in the facade appears to continue in the parapet. With a tight facade detailing, the building physics of the air and water tightness is very important.

In a room next to the exhibition space is a theater showing a film about the war and the cemetery. The wall finish with open slats with sound absorption behind them provides excellent acoustics for film and presentations. An S-bend in the entrance of the theater allows for an open passage between theater and exhibition space. In this open passage, the walls of open slats are highly absorbent, so that sound in the theater barely penetrates the exhibition space despite the lack of a door.

An interesting challenge in acoustic consultancy for exhibition spaces is the influence of the exhibition design on the acoustics of the room. To achieve appropriate acoustics, the right balance must be struck between architectural measures, such as acoustic ceilings and/or absorbent wall finishes, and the contribution that (often changing) exhibitions have on the acoustics of the space. We regularly advise on exhibition/exhibition spaces. For example, in our museum projects such as Paleis het Loo and the Kröller Müller Museum. For questions or more information, please feel free to contact our specialists.

Onze adviseurs

Peter Bijvoet

Adviseur bouwfysica


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