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Museums
Bunkering Down

Architecture firm BIG expands a Danish WWII bunker to create a museum camouflaged among the dunes

By Kim Megson | Published in Attractions Management 2017 issue 3

Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) transformation of a World War II German bunker into a cultural complex camouflaged among the protected dunes of Blåvand, western Denmark, opened to the public on 30 June.

Named Tirpitz Museum, the 82,000sqm (882,600sq ft) attraction relates the history of the rugged coastal area, including stories of lost ships, smugglers and war. The architects describe the building as “a sanctuary in the sand that acts as a gentle counterbalance to the dramatic war history of the site”.

On approach, visitors first see the bunker, one of hundreds of coastal defences and fortifications built by the German army during the war to protect against invasion.

Museum complex
Beyond the bunker, the new museum emerges, designed to contrast with the heavy volume of the wartime structure. The complex is divided into four main underground galleries. These can be viewed and accessed from a central courtyard on ground level, with 6-metre-tall (20-foot) glass panels allowing natural light to flood into the interior spaces. A tunnel links the galleries with the back of the bunker.

“The architecture of Tirpitz is the antithesis to the WWII bunker,” says BIG founder Bjarke Ingels. “The heavy hermetic object is countered by the inviting lightness and openness of the new museum.”

“The galleries are integrated into the dunes like an open oasis in the sand,” says Ingels. “The bunker remains the only landmark of a not-so-distant dark heritage that, upon close inspection, marks the entrance to a new cultural meeting place.”

Partner at BIG, Finn Nokjaer, explains that it was important to be sensitive to this rural region, which boasts some of Denmark’s most beautiful scenery.

“Everyone in Denmark loves the west coast,” Nokjaer says. “It’s a protected area, so to do something wild or to shout would be impossible and it’s not something we wanted to do. There were a lot of demands, a lot of things we couldn’t do. We also wanted to be extremely honest with the materials. What’s important in my mind is that it’s a very simple idea.”

Four exhibitions
The four exhibition rooms, designed by Dutch agency Tinker Imagineers, showcase permanent and temporary themed experiences dedicated to Blåvand’s natural surroundings and history and its “treasure trove of hidden stories”.

In the central room, visitors learn about the seafaring nation of Denmark. ‘Army of Concrete’ tells human stories in the shadow of Hitler’s enormous European defence project, the Atlantic Wall. Visitors learn the story of Danes and Germans who worked and lived here, such as the story of Anna, who had a child with a German soldier.

Collections are varied. The West Coast Stories exhibition describes thousands of years of west coast history and is turned into a nighttime 4D theatre every hour, where visitors sit inside a lifeboat that takes them on a thrilling journey. While Gold of the West Coast is Europe’s most comprehensive exhibition of amber.

“Tirpitz was a unique opportunity to combine nature and culture in a spectacular fashion,” says founding partner at Tinker Imagineers Erik Bär. “A visit to the museum is not a visit to an exhibition gallery, but a scenic journey through time and space. The idea is that the whole place itself comes to life following the rhythms of nature.”

The museum was financed by the municipality of Varde, alongside the AP Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation, the Nordea Foundation and the Augustinus Foundation. It is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors annually.

Tirpitz Museum is the latest in a series of major cultural projects for BIG. In 2013, the studio completed the Danish National Maritime Museum. The firm is also working on the LEGO House in Billund, Denmark; the MECA Cultural Center in Bordeaux, France; and the Smithsonian Institution Masterplan in Washington, DC.

The museum building consists of four main materials and elements – concrete, steel, glass and wood – which are found in the existing structures and natural landscape of the area Credit: photo: Rasmus Hjortshoj
The museum building consists of four main materials and elements – concrete, steel, glass and wood – which are found in the existing structures and natural landscape of the area Credit: photo: Mike Bink
The museum building consists of four main materials and elements – concrete, steel, glass and wood – which are found in the existing structures and natural landscape of the area Credit: photo: Mike Bink
The Army of Concrete exhibition is about the Atlantic Wall and the history of the area Credit: photo: Mike Bink
A lifeboat-themed 4D theatre in the West Coast Stories zone Credit: photo: Mike Bink
interactives teach visitors about amber, in Gold of the West Coast Credit: photo: Mike Bink
people gather in the central area Credit: photo: Rasmus Hjortshoj
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Jobs . News . Products . Magazine
Museums
Bunkering Down

Architecture firm BIG expands a Danish WWII bunker to create a museum camouflaged among the dunes

By Kim Megson | Published in Attractions Management 2017 issue 3

Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) transformation of a World War II German bunker into a cultural complex camouflaged among the protected dunes of Blåvand, western Denmark, opened to the public on 30 June.

Named Tirpitz Museum, the 82,000sqm (882,600sq ft) attraction relates the history of the rugged coastal area, including stories of lost ships, smugglers and war. The architects describe the building as “a sanctuary in the sand that acts as a gentle counterbalance to the dramatic war history of the site”.

On approach, visitors first see the bunker, one of hundreds of coastal defences and fortifications built by the German army during the war to protect against invasion.

Museum complex
Beyond the bunker, the new museum emerges, designed to contrast with the heavy volume of the wartime structure. The complex is divided into four main underground galleries. These can be viewed and accessed from a central courtyard on ground level, with 6-metre-tall (20-foot) glass panels allowing natural light to flood into the interior spaces. A tunnel links the galleries with the back of the bunker.

“The architecture of Tirpitz is the antithesis to the WWII bunker,” says BIG founder Bjarke Ingels. “The heavy hermetic object is countered by the inviting lightness and openness of the new museum.”

“The galleries are integrated into the dunes like an open oasis in the sand,” says Ingels. “The bunker remains the only landmark of a not-so-distant dark heritage that, upon close inspection, marks the entrance to a new cultural meeting place.”

Partner at BIG, Finn Nokjaer, explains that it was important to be sensitive to this rural region, which boasts some of Denmark’s most beautiful scenery.

“Everyone in Denmark loves the west coast,” Nokjaer says. “It’s a protected area, so to do something wild or to shout would be impossible and it’s not something we wanted to do. There were a lot of demands, a lot of things we couldn’t do. We also wanted to be extremely honest with the materials. What’s important in my mind is that it’s a very simple idea.”

Four exhibitions
The four exhibition rooms, designed by Dutch agency Tinker Imagineers, showcase permanent and temporary themed experiences dedicated to Blåvand’s natural surroundings and history and its “treasure trove of hidden stories”.

In the central room, visitors learn about the seafaring nation of Denmark. ‘Army of Concrete’ tells human stories in the shadow of Hitler’s enormous European defence project, the Atlantic Wall. Visitors learn the story of Danes and Germans who worked and lived here, such as the story of Anna, who had a child with a German soldier.

Collections are varied. The West Coast Stories exhibition describes thousands of years of west coast history and is turned into a nighttime 4D theatre every hour, where visitors sit inside a lifeboat that takes them on a thrilling journey. While Gold of the West Coast is Europe’s most comprehensive exhibition of amber.

“Tirpitz was a unique opportunity to combine nature and culture in a spectacular fashion,” says founding partner at Tinker Imagineers Erik Bär. “A visit to the museum is not a visit to an exhibition gallery, but a scenic journey through time and space. The idea is that the whole place itself comes to life following the rhythms of nature.”

The museum was financed by the municipality of Varde, alongside the AP Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation, the Nordea Foundation and the Augustinus Foundation. It is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors annually.

Tirpitz Museum is the latest in a series of major cultural projects for BIG. In 2013, the studio completed the Danish National Maritime Museum. The firm is also working on the LEGO House in Billund, Denmark; the MECA Cultural Center in Bordeaux, France; and the Smithsonian Institution Masterplan in Washington, DC.

The museum building consists of four main materials and elements – concrete, steel, glass and wood – which are found in the existing structures and natural landscape of the area Credit: photo: Rasmus Hjortshoj
The museum building consists of four main materials and elements – concrete, steel, glass and wood – which are found in the existing structures and natural landscape of the area Credit: photo: Mike Bink
The museum building consists of four main materials and elements – concrete, steel, glass and wood – which are found in the existing structures and natural landscape of the area Credit: photo: Mike Bink
The Army of Concrete exhibition is about the Atlantic Wall and the history of the area Credit: photo: Mike Bink
A lifeboat-themed 4D theatre in the West Coast Stories zone Credit: photo: Mike Bink
interactives teach visitors about amber, in Gold of the West Coast Credit: photo: Mike Bink
people gather in the central area Credit: photo: Rasmus Hjortshoj
 


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Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2018

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