The Danish Maritime Museum

The Danish Maritime Museum

Museums
Helsingor, Denmark
Luca Santiago

THE DANISH NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM

BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group as Architects

The museum is fitted around the dry dock and it leaves the dry dock as a void space traversed by bridges. The museum building placed in the space between the new and old dock walls, essentially wraps it around the existing dry dock like a doughnut.


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Collaboration:BIG with Kossmann.dejong, Rambøll, Freddy Madsen andKiBiSi


The new Danish Maritime Museum is a subterranean museum built around a dry dock adjacent to Kronborg Castle of Hamlet fame. For a century the site was a shipyard bustling with vessels and machinery, and the dry dock that now forms the centrepiece of the museum’s underground building is a legacy of this yard. Yet until recently, the dock lay in a state of neglect in a decayed post-industrial landscape, a desolate and rather ugly concrete relic of a lost industry. Due to the UNESCO World Heritage status of Kronborg Castle, the museum, formerly located within the castle’s walls, was evicted in order to restore the castle’s original interiors. It was decided that the museum’s program should be housed inside the dry dock next to the castle. Contrary to its name, the dry dock was full of water and posed severe geotechnical challenges. To keep the dock walls standing, one would have to build a fortifying new dock inside the dock, or install new dock walls around the dock. The dock itself was a majestic structure, 150 metres long and 25 metres wide, in the shape of a hull. It would be a pity to drown this industrial cathedral in museum program, or even to bury it under faux fortifications.


In 2004, the museum board gained the support of four major shipping companies to finance an architectural competition for a museum in the dry dock, after which eleven different foundations generously supported the project through to its completion. Initially the competition brief contained several dilemmas. Firstly, although the museum was not allowed to protrude above ground level to preserve the view to Kronborg Castle, some sort of iconic roof structure over the dock was expected to maximise the museum’s attractiveness. Secondly, the museum program was twice the footprint of the dock, forcing the architect to build on two levels, thus turning the museum into a concealed claustrophobic basement with no view. As the law requires all workspaces to have daylight and views, the staff would then have to be located in another building, disconnected from the museum. The winning architect’s idea of fitting the museum around the dry dock rather than inside and leaving the dry dock as a void space traversed by bridges was the most radical of the five proposals but also a clear solution to the inherent dilemmas of the competition.


To overcome the aforementioned geotechnical challenges, the architect proposed to install new walls at a distance around the old dock to maintain its structural integrity and place the museum in the space between the new and old dock walls, essentially wrapping it around the existing dry dock like a doughnut. A series of three two-level steel bridges span the dry dock, serving as short-cuts to different sections of the museum. A sloping zigzag bridge spanning the entire dry dock navigates visitors to the main entrance. This bridge creates a dynamic tension between old and new as visitors descend into the museum space overlooking the majestic surroundings above and below ground, while Denmark’s maritime history unfolds in a continuous motion. All floors—connecting exhibition spaces with the auditorium, classroom, offices, café and the dock floor within the museum—slope gently, creating dramatic and sculptural spaces. By arranging the galleries in a continuous loop around the dry dock walls and leaving the dock open, the dock becomes the centrepiece of the exhibition—an open, outdoor area where visitors experience the size of the ship.


Despite Denmark’s prominent global maritime presence, the shipping industry can seem almost invisible to those not directly involved in its development and day-to-day operations. How fitting, then, that this under-recognized economy should be represented by a building that also hides in plain sight, yet represents a remarkable feat in architecture, civil and structural engineering. Completed in October 2013, the newly opened Danish Maritime Museum has proven itself with an understanding of the unique historic and spatial context it is in as it seeks to reflect Denmark's historical and contemporary role as one of the world's leading maritime nations. The museum is open to the public for outdoor activities, exhibitions and events, making it a cultural hub in the region throughout the year. The museum demonstrates that by proactively cross-breeding public infrastructure—a dry dock—with social programs, we can inject new urban life forms into the heart of our cities . . . any city that has lost its former industries and is looking for ways to look forward without forgetting its past.

Designs permanent display

Kossmann.dejong as Interior Architects

Kossmann.dejong has designed the new display for the museum building; they have made use of the unique sculptural qualities of the building in their scenography. Very narrow spaces are used to evoke the oppressive atmosphere of the war; the wider open space emphasizes the openness of the sea, or the grand scale of contemporary globalization. Impressive three-dimensional film installations have been used in the depiction of the themes.


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Kossmann.dejong has designed the new display for the Danish National Maritime Museum in Helsingør. The exhibition spaces are all underground, surrounding a former dry dock. The architectural design comes from the well-known Danish architectural practice BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group).


Kossmann.dejong made use of the unique sculptural qualities of the building in their scenography, so that architecture and interiors intensified and complemented each other. Very narrow spaces, for example, are used to evoke the oppressive atmosphere of the war. The wider, open space emphasise the openness of the sea, or the grand scale of contemporary globalisation.


The metaphor that underpins the multimedia exhibition is that of a journey, which starts with an imagining of the universal yearning to discover far away shores and experience adventures at sea. A lighthouse projects dreamy images of shipping as depicted in art and culture. Portholes that have been transformed into showcases present the image of seamen as it has been shaped through the ages. Objects such as Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male perfume bottle, erotic playsuits, Lego pirate toys, Popeye the Sailor Man, and Donald Duck show how colourful the perception of sailors has been over time.


Denmark’s infamous maritime history, up until the significance of the contemporary shipping industry globally, is being told in a dynamic way, via themes such as ship, harbour, fleet, war, trade and globalisation. The interconnecting layer in the exhibition is the presentation of ‘cargo’. Piles of various goods illustrate the economical significance of the development of the industry, which has also been accompanied by tremendous change for the average consumer. The container, as the main protagonist in the expansion and standardisation of modern shipping, is literally put on a pedestal. A scale model of the world’s largest containership, which is launched in China in June, has been made especially for the exhibition.


The exhibition has been made accessible to a broad audience through the intertwining of many different perspectives on the shipping industry. Through the eyes of sailors, ship owners, captains and sailors’ wives, visitors are introduced to the temptations of the harbour, life on board, and the skills required at sea. The lucrative business the shipping industry engaged in during the war is also paid attention to.


Impressive three-dimensional film installations have been used in the depiction of the themes. For these, a lot of original film footage has been unearthed from archives and private collections. Through many ‘interactives’, visitors can learn to trade, navigate and even ink a tattoo.

M/S Maritime Museum

Junckers as Manufacturers

Junckers has created a custom finished oak floor for the museum building. The new, textured floor acts a link within the interior scheme of the building, bringing together elements of concrete, glass and steel, housed in an amazing 150 m long, old concrete dock.


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A Custom Project Working closely with architects BIG (Bjarne Ingles Group), solid wood floor specialist Junckers has created a custom finished oak floor for the M/S Maritime Museum in Helsingør, Denmark. The new, textured floor acts a link within the interior scheme of the building, bringing together elements of concrete, glass and steel, housed in an amazing 150 metre long, old concrete dock.


The architects’ brief was for a solid hardwood floor with a rustic quality to match the raw and patinated concrete of the old dock. Junckers created a textured finish brushed solid oak floor which gives contrasting warmth to the overall impression of the museum. When natural light from the floor to ceiling glass wall hits the surface of the floor at an angle, it creates a spectacular effect.

M/S MARITIME MUSEUM

VOLA as Manufacturers

The architects has preserved the old dock as an historical, industrial monument, leaving it open for outdoor exhibitions and events. The museum is accessed via bridges spanning the dock. The floors in the exhibition area slope gently downwards, so visitors can move around the building as they descend in a spiral.


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M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark is designed by the architecture company BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group). The museum is located under ground around the old dry dock of Helsingør Shipyard. BIG has preserved the old dock as an historical, industrial monument, leaving it open for outdoor exhibitions and events.


The museum is accessed via bridges spanning the dock. The floors in the exhibition area slope gently downwards, so visitors can move around the building as they descend in a spiral.


ALECTIA is part of the team behind the New Maritime Museum in Elsinore

Alectia as Consultants

The museum has been built at the base of the 150 meters long dock, integrating the old dock walls into the outer walls of the new museum. The dock is an open space, with room for large outdoor exhibitions, displays and events.


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The ground-breaking ceremony for the New Maritime Museum in Elsinore took place on 17 September, 2010. ALECTIA provides owner representative services and construction management. The museum will cost up to DKK 212 mill. and is expected to be finished in 2012.


The museum building has been designed by BIG architects, the Bjarke Ingels Group.


The Danish minister of culture, Per Stig Møller, initiated the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the New Maritime Museum in Elsinore. This marks the start of a major project, transforming a historical dock into an international museum.


The Maritime Museum will be 7,600 m2, occupying a unique location in the old dry dock close to Kronborg Castle. The museum is to be built at the base of the 150 meters long dock, integrating the old dock walls into the outer walls of the new museum. The dock itself will be an open space, with room for large outdoor exhibitions, displays and events.


New settings and contents The existing Danish Maritime Museum has been located at Kronborg Castle since its inception in 1915. Chronologically, the museum takes over the story of sea travel from the the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, covering the period from the 14th century to present day, with particular emphasis on seafaring during the last 100 years.


With the move to the New Maritime Museum in 2013, larger parts of the museum’s collections can be exhibited, including recent shipping history, which was not possible before. The hope is that this will help attract more children and young people to an intrinsic part of Danish history.

Project team
Consultants
Manufacturers
Interior Architects
Manufacturers
Product Specifications
BrandCategoryProducts
JunckersJunckersManufacturers
Louis PoulsenLouis PoulsenManufacturers
SWEDOOR JELD-WENSWEDOOR JELD-WENManufacturers
ThysseenKrupp ElevatorManufacturers
VOLAVOLAManufacturers
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