New climate-friendly depot


With the growth of the FOMU collection in recent years came the need for additional storage space. FOMU studied concepts for the building of a new storage depot together with the Province of Antwerp Infrastructure department. We had to take into account the diversity of the objects and materials in the collection, the conservation criteria and the best way to extend the life of the collection in so far as possible. The environment was another major factor. Energy consumption in depots has a serious impact on our planet. The choice, therefore, fell on the concept of a storage tower with a low-energy climate system.

In the spring of 2015, an adjacent building on Verviersstraat was demolished to make way for the new depot. This tower was named the Lieven Gevaert Tower after the Flemish photography industry pioneer.  

The Lieven Gevaert Tower came into use in late 2016.


Normal depots use heavy-impact climate control systems that are designed to keep the temperature and relative humidity under control. This entails substantial energy consumption. The focus of a climate-neutral depot is on a well-insulated building and the use of durable materials, thereby considerably reducing the use of climate control systems.

FOMU is thus taking a pioneering position with the construction of a climate-neutral tower. The decision to build a low-energy depot that respects the diversity of the collection is innovative: it is the first low-energy depot for a photography collection in Europe. It will ensure the long-term conservation of a wide range of photographic objects.  


The tower will serve as a depot for the library’s collection and the collection of positives, framed works and glass negatives.

To make this edifice as climate-neutral as possible, exhibits with synthetic supports, the colour photographs and digital prints are not stored in the new tower depot. These materials require specific storage conditions and the strict observation of ISO standards for conservation. In early 2016, these objects will have a home in the fully renovated depots of the museum’s new wing.