During the summer of 2021, a new Hans Christian Andersen museum will open in Odense, Denmark. Famous for his fairy tales – among all, The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Match Girl and The Princess and the Pea, Hans Christian Andersen (1805 – 1875) will be honored with a brand-new museum showcasing a new view on the history, life and work of the writer. Read more about the new museum dedicated to the Danish fairytale writer – an update.
The new museum will rise in an area of 5,600 square meters, about two-thirds of which are below ground level, in order to cement an area that is as small as possible and make the rest of the space available for the creation of a large urban park.
Combined exhibit and building design
A competition for a combined exhibit design project linked to the world view of Hans Christian Andersen was won by the British group Event Communications. This project was one of the bases of the winning proposal by Japanese architects Kengo Kuma & Associates, in a team with Cornelius+Vöge and landscape architects MASU planning.
This unusual procedure in which an exhibit design is the basis of the architectural development is one of the strengths of the project, according to Jane Jegind, Odense Councillor for Urban Affairs and Cultural.
The museum building is an ambling collection of cylindrical volumes, with glass and lattice timber facades beneath scooped green roofs, all surrounding a sunken courtyard space. The project will replace an existing museum that is largely focused on the author’s personal life with one that is more centered on his stories.
Related: Hans Christian Andersen’s Denmark
Striking international caliber
“The proposal has a unique quality,” said Odense Mayor and jury member Anker Boye. “It captures the spirit of both Hans Christian Andersen and Odense, has striking international caliber and is locally embedded at the same time.”
The project plays an important role in the radical changes currently taking place in the center of Odense, in particular, the main artery closure Thomas B. Thriges Gade. Previously, the road through the town is now part of the 9,000 square meters of the area involved in the project, which includes – in addition to the area surrounding the Hans Christian Andersen Museum – Cultural Centre for Children the Tinderbox and Lotzes Park.
Related: The Danish Fairytale City
New museum near Andersen’s childhood house
Born from a humble family in a rural town steeped in old traditions and superstitions, governed by unchanged age-old customs, but also free from the conventions and hypocrisies of the nascent bourgeoisie, Hans Christian Andersen absorbed his father (passionate reader and lover of walking in the woods) love for literature and nature, a substrate from which he would later draw his famous fairytales.
The new museum will be located near the house where Andersen spent his childhood, in an area of the city that has recently undergone urban redevelopment to reduce car traffic and revitalize the historic center.
New Museum Dedicated to the Danish Fairytale Writer – Update, written by Tor Kjolberg
All images © Kengo Kuma, Cornelius+Voge and MASU Planning