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Images: ZJA

The Freedom Museum in Groesbeek, Netherlands, has been awarded the prestigious Architecture MasterPrize for 2022. The museum is housed in a shaded dome, an innovation of Shaded Dome Technologies, a company founded by the architectural studio ZJA, Royal HaskoningDHV and Polyned.


For a quick overview of this article, click the video.

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Striking form and sustainability wins out

The museum won the award in the cultural architecture category at the 2022 Architecture MasterPrize Awards. Rob Torsing, architect and partner at ZJA, says: “We are extremely honoured that the Freedom Museum in Groesbeek has been awarded the Architecture MasterPrize. It is an accolade for an extraordinary project. The Freedom Museum has a striking form and is an exceptionally sustainable building, with an optimal indoor climate, even in extreme weather conditions. Furthermore, the shaded dome makes efficient use of both materials and technology.”

Distinctive shape

The Freedom Museum has the shape of an enormous parachute, a recognisable symbol of liberation at the end of the war. It has a shaded dome as the roof. Although the museum has a distinctive shape, it has a fluid form and its skin blends into the green, hilly landscape of Groesbeek.

The shape of the shaded dome in Groesbeek is that of an elongated cupola of light fabric, alluding to the parachutes that filled the sky during Operation Market Garden. The building, sited on a flattened hilltop, is slightly tilted towards the valley and cut away in that direction to create an obvious entrance. The offices and depot are below ground, giving the restaurant a view of the valley from which the Allied Forces once moved towards Germany.

Blending into the landscape

The slightly tilted dome is positioned towards the back of the flat hilltop, creating space for open-air events, and for greenery between the museum and the Canadian military cemetery. The flowing shape, the use of materials and the skin, which evokes associations with the parachutes of the liberating forces, ensure that the Freedom Museum blends into this rolling landscape with its winding roads and verdant vistas.

Materiality and design

The shaded dome, placed on a concrete plinth with doors and windows, consists of a dome supported by air pressure, a network of steel cables and a roof made of hi-tech textiles with a large span. The dome is made of an insulated inner and outer fabric, separated by spacers.

As the roof is inflated, the self-righting spacers become erect, creating a cavity between them in which natural airflow quickly and automatically carries away the heat of the sun. Because of its two-layered structure, with an inner and outer fabric, and a 50cm cavity in-between, the shaded dome requires less energy than existing tent-like structures, creating a comfortable and healthy indoor climate.

The dome is made of an insulated inner and outer fabric, kept apart by spacers.

The inflatable dome is supported entirely by air pressure, the indoor space has no pillars and its entire 2 400m² can be divided up at will. At its tallest point, the Freedom Museum is 12m high and has a free span of 60m. Therefore, the rooms in the museum, with its reception, museum café and exhibition spaces, can easily be reconfigured without great expense.

For relatively low building costs, the Freedom Museum has acquired an iconic building – an ode to history is a distinctive eye-catcher in the green, rolling landscape.


Freedom Museum Groesbeek reaches highest point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIt54u7wmuo

Shaded Dome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yla-XcsWiZM

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to www.v2com-newswire.com for the information in this editorial. Visit www.zja.nl/en/Vrijheidsmuseum-Groesbeek for more information.

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