- Project Name
- Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
- Project Types
- Project Scope
- Adaptive Reuse
- 30,139 sq. feet
- Year Completed
- Shared by
Andreas K. Pedersen
Snorre Emanuel Nash Jørgensen
Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard
Michael Schønemann Jensen
Alejandro Mata Gonzales
Kyle Thomas David Tousant
Jesper Boye Andersen
Katarzyna Krystyna Siedlecka
Maria Teresa Fernandez Rojo
Structural Engineer: Akt,Lüchinger+Meyer,Tinker Imagineers,Kloosterboer Decor,BIG Ideas,Fuldendt,Svend Ole Hansen,Gade Mortensen Akustik A/S,Bach Landskab,Ingeniørgruppen Syd,Kjæhr & Trillingsgaard,Pelcon
- Project Status
From the May 2019 Issue of ARCHITECT:
A regional museum with a diverse mission disappears into the protected landscape around it.
Never afraid of making a bold statement, Copenhagen- and New York–based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) seems determined to prove itself equally capable of poetic understatement with its design for the Tirpitz Museum on the Danish coast. The context certainly demands a light touch: During WWII, the German war machine constructed a vast system of defenses along the northern European seaboard—mostly concrete pillboxes. The museum, which is partially dedicated to exploring the Nazi occupation of Denmark, is located both adjacent to and inside one of those empty bunkers. Separate accommodations had to be incorporated for displays on local history, an extensive collection of amber, and a rotating exhibition space. And to further complicate the already complex brief, the site is located within a major ecological park, making the museum a de facto interpretive center for the preserve.
BIG’s solution manages to answer all points through a kind of archaeological maneuver—slicing into the sandy soil, the designers created a solemn yet scenic procession that has visitors descend into the coastal dune itself, with the semi-buried museum nestled into it like a piece of the topography (or, even more appropriately, like a defensive earthwork). Cross-like in plan, the cuts meet in a central plaza with the exhibition areas surrounding it, the separate volumes making up an improbable subterranean village.
Side-stepping a common hazard of underground architecture, the glazed flanks of the four structures allow for a surprising amount of natural light inside. Any sense of claustrophobia is completely dispelled by a spatial flow that carries museum-goers through the rooms, via another buried passage, and up into the decades-old concrete blockhouse. Robustly contemporary when seen from below, yet barely visible from surface level, the Tirpitz Museum leaves the landscape almost untouched, becoming a living part of its environment—showing just how much BIG can really do with almost nothing.
Project: Tirpitz Museum, Blåvand, Denmark
Architect: Bjarke Ingels Group, Copenhagen, Denmark, and New York . Bjarke Ingels, Finn Norkjaer (partners-in-charge); Brian Yang (project leader, concept); Frederik Lyng (project leader, detailed design); Ole Elkjær-Larsen (project manager); David Zahle, Andreas K. Pedersen, Snorre Emanuel Nash Jørgensen, Michael Andersen, Hugo Soo, Marcella Martinez, Geoffrey Eberle, Adam Busko, Hanna Johansson, Jakob Andreassen, Charlotte Cocco, Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard, Michael Schønemann Jensen, Alejandro Mata Gonzales, Kyle Thomas, David Tousant, Jesper Boye Andersen, Alberte Danvig, Jan Magasanik, Enea Michelesio, Alina Tamosiunaite, Ryohei Koike, Brigitta Gulyás, Katarzyna Krystyna Siedlecka, Andrea Scalco, Tobias Hjortdal, Maria Teresa Fernandez Rojo (project team); Jakob Lange, Tore Banke, Yehezkiel Wiliardy, Kristoffer Negendahl (BIG Ideas)
Structural Engineer: AKT; Lüchinger+Meyer Bauingenieure
Exhibition Design Consultant: Tinker Imagineers; Kloosterboer Décor
Contractor: Kloosterboer Décor
Sustainability Consultant: BIG Ideas
M/E/P/Civil Engineering Consultant: Fuldendt
Fire Safety Code Consultant: COWI
Wind Consultant: Svend Ole Hansen
Acoustics Consultant: Gade & Mortensen Akustik
Landscape Architect: Bach Landskab
Lighting Consultant: Ingeniørgruppen Syd
Client Adviser: Kjæhr & Trillingsgaard Enterprise
Consultant: Pelcon Materials & Testing
Size: 2,850 square meters (30,677 square feet)
This project win a 2019 Institute Honor Award for Archtecture
A sanctuary situated on a dramatic war-history site on Denmark’s west coast, this museum has transformed a never-completed German bunker into a groundbreaking cultural complex. Antithetical to the dark days of World War II occupation and the heaviness of the cement bunker, the architects’ delicate intervention adds a central public square surrounded by light-filled spaces embedded in the landscape.
The museum is situated in the city of Blåvand on the Jutland peninsula within Wadden Sea National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Because the park contains the world’s largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats, the project was subject to strict preservation rules. Since the museum was built below ground, to lessen its impact on the region, it appears from a distance to be a natural sand dune.
Visitors approach the museum on winding pathways lined with heath, eventually transitioning into a rigid intersection as they approach the bunker. Four simple incisions provide access to a sunken central courtyard leading to four discrete gallery spaces. Though they are carved directly into the sand, 20-foot glass façades allow ample daylight to flood the underground spaces.
The project gathered four unique and independent institutions under one roof: an existing war-focused bunker museum, an amber museum, a local history museum, and a gallery dedicated to special exhibitions. Each housed in its own gallery, they all connect to the bunker through a tunnel where visitors can explore an interactive exhibit that reveals how the bunker would have functioned upon its completion.
In addition to serving as a portal to the Danish coast’s rich history and maintaining the protected shorelands, the project delivers a much-needed attraction to support year-round tourism. Drawn to Blåvand’s verdant landscapes and peaceful dunes, the area receives Denmark’s second most annual holiday visits, behind only Copenhagen. Response to the museum has been overwhelmingly positive, exceeding the client’s anticipated goal of 100,000 annual visitors just two months after it opened in June 2017.
FROM THE ARCHITECTS:
The new TIRPITZ is a sanctuary in the sand that acts as a gentle counterbalance to the dramatic war history of the site in Blåvand on the west coast of Denmark. The 2,800 m2 ‘invisible museum’ transforms and expands a historic German WWII bunker into a groundbreaking cultural complex comprising four exhibitions within a single structure, seamlessly embedded into the landscape. Upon arrival, visitors will first see the bunker until they approach through the heath-lined pathways and find the walls cut into the dunes from all sides and descend to meet in a central clearing. The courtyard allows access into the four underground gallery spaces that have an abundance of daylight even though they are literally carved into the sand. The exhibitions, designed by Dutch agency Tinker Imagineers, showcase permanent and temporary themed experiences that ground the tale of an impressive war machine. While set by the heavy hermetic object of the WWII bunker, the new TIRPITZ is a sharp contrast to the concrete monolith by camouflaging with the landscape and inviting lightness and openness into the new museum.