Danish Maritime Museum
The Danish Maritime Museum in Elsinore, Denmark will be housed within, and surrounding, a decommissioned dry dock that lies within eyesight of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kronborg Castle, the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Bjarke Ingels Group was just announced the winner of the open competition for the museum.
The solution seeks through minimal means to create maximum functionality and architectural resonance./Bjarke Ingels
Our vision was to create a lively museum that through its exhibition programming and architecture could excite the random pedestrian who wanders by as well as those who have made a pilgrimage from far and wide./Bjarke Ingels
Our work as architects is often to realize other's visions but it is not always easy to build a bridge between vision and reality.
Our neighbour was none less than Prince Hamlet's Castle, with its fortifications, masonry, and tower skyline is one of Denmark's greatest tourist attractions. And due to preserving the views of the Castle's towers we were not allowed to even stick out a meter above the ground level.
We considered it architectural suicide to fill the dry dock with program and therefore decided to empty the dry dock and wrap it with the museum, making it the centrepiece of the exhibition. Instead of drowning the dry dock with galleries we would leave it open. A new kind of urban space - open for new ideas and life. An underwater oasis whose attraction would be its emptiness. As a response to Hamlet's famous question: to be or not to be? We chose the latter.
The museum is placed around the dry dock and not within. This allows the preservation of the dry dock as an entirely empty space. A series of bridges span the dry dock providing visitors with short-cuts to other portions of the museum. One bridge in particular also serves to navigate visitors to the entrance. An auditorium also serves as a bridge providing access from Kronborg Castle to the harbour. The bridges create a dynamic tension between old and new.
The arrival to the museum is through a descending set of ramps which enter both the dry dock and the world of the sea-fairer. The museum will (like a Siren's song) attract the passer-by deeper and deeper into the long and noble history of Danish Maritime in its galleries, finally standing in the dry dock with view of the heavens skies.
The solution seeks through minimal means to create maximum functionality and architectural resonance. The dry dock is made accessible to outdoor activities, exhibitions and events that allows the Maritime Museum to add to the cultural life of Helsingor throughout the year.
The exhibition areas will not only house the exhibitions held at the current museum but also create the possibility of interactive exhibition designs and entirely new concepts. Potential exhibition design may include ship simulators, an interactive map of the seven seas and time lapse photography of how container ships are built.
The proposal provides the Maritime Museum with a continuous 4,000 square meter exhibition gallery that feels like a ships deck but that can transform at a moments notice into 12 individual galleries allowing for different shapes, sizes, and lighting needs.
A unanimous Jury Committee chose BIG's proposal even though it did not adhere to the competition brief. The proposal's unexpected solution that opened the possibility to entirely unanticipated functionality and exhibition opportunities - a below grade museum that is both flexible and incorporates dramatic day-lighting.
Facts about Danish Maritime Museum
Last updated: November 23, 2012