Well, since I turned on the BIG tap last week, I might as well open the floodgates… because there was no way I was going to Denmark and not visit as many of their projects as I could. And visit many of them I did! I was especially excited to experience this one, for it was one of the first architecture posts I shared on this blog: The Maritime Museum of Denmark.
To give a brief recap of what makes this building so amazing is that it is built not exactly inside of, or around, or even over a historic dry dock, but in a way that it becomes a part of it. Leaving the existing and impressively thick concrete walls of the former “bathtub for ships” in place, the museum wraps around it underground while also crisscrossing the dock’s open-air empty space through a series of ramps and bridges. In this way you can walk right up and experience it, with nothing needing to be built near it that could hide it. The main path to Kronborg, the Hamlet Castle is even a bridge that crosses right over it.
Inside, the museum unfolds in a continuous series of ramps through exhibition spaces that both flank the outside of the drydock as well, as noted before, ramping diagonally through the void. (As an aside, the exhibits were well done as well!)
I love (and this is probably no surprise at this point) all the great texture and patina that comes with the re-use of something old like this, with many moments of what becomes rich decoration when ensconced in or traversed by the new architecture. Or how something like the stepped base of the dry dock is used as bonus seating.
As a bonus, the graphic design for the museum is excellent. Check out the admission/entry tag, where the flap you use to slip it onto your shirt is a match for the building itself!
Superbly done. I was giddy to visit and the architecture did not disappoint. That the museum component was also made for a splendid day. Definitively check it out if you’re in the area.