BIG just unveiled their stunning renovation of the Danish Maritime Museum, which opened its doors early this month. To reflect Denmark’s role as one of the world’s leading maritime nations, BIG blended history with modernism by building an underground museum shaped like a ship around the walls of a once abandoned dry dock.
Located at the water’s edge, the sunken maritime museum resembles the shape of a long ship cut into the earth. A series of double-level bridges span the dock, providing visitors with dramatic views across the emptied dry dock and shortcuts to different gallery spaces.
Instead of filling in the dry dock with programming, BIG built the museum to surround the 60-year old concrete dock walls, making the dry dock the heart of the museum. The galleries that ring the dock walls transform the dock from an abandoned anachronism into a lively modern courtyard. All floors of the museum are gently sloped to create more variable sculptural spaces.
Calling the dock an “urban abyss,” Bjarke Ingels says that placing the museum within a submerged space offered an opportunity to design a contemporary public space that also circumvented sightline problems with Kronborg Castle, the nearby UNESCO World Heritage site. The Danish Maritime Museum’s innovative design has allowed BIG and its collaborators to exercise new construction techniques never used before in Denmark.
Images via BIG