Herning Center of the Arts / Steven Holl Architects

© Steen Gyldendal
© Steen Gyldendal

Architect: Steven Holl Architects
Location: Herning, Denmark
Design Architect: Steven Holl
Associate in Charge: Noah Yaffe
Project Advisor: Chris McVoy
Project team: Lesley Chang, JongSeo Lee, Julia Radcliffe, Filipe Taboada, Christina Yessios
Competition team: Cosimo Caggiula, Martin Cox, Alessandro Orsini
Program: Temporary exhibition galleries, 150 seat auditorium, music rehearsal rooms, restaurant, media library and administrative offices
Client: Herning Center of the Arts
Project Area: 5,600 sqm
Project year: 2005-2009
Photographs: Steen Gyldendal &

© Steen Gyldendal © Steen Gyldendal © Steen Gyldendal © Steven Holl Architects

The Herning Center of the Arts unites, for the first time, three distinct cultural institutions: the Herning Art Museum, the MidWest Ensemble and the Socle du Monde. The new Center is intended to be an innovative forum combining visual art and music. The design fuses landscape and architecture in a one-level building that will include permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, a 150-seat auditorium, music rehearsal rooms, a restaurant, a media library, administrative offices and an active landscape. The design for the center aims at “building the site”.

© Steen Gyldendal
© Steen Gyldendal

In transforming the flat field, a new 40,000 sf. landscape of grass mounds and pools conceals all the parking and service areas while shaping inspiring bermed landscape spaces focused on reflecting pools positioned in the south sun. Herning’s prominent relationship with textiles and art formed the inspiration for the design concept. Steven Holl states: ‘Part of the current art collection is housed in an old shirt factory in Herning. This 1960s building was designed in the form of a shirt collar and is across the street from the site. It was the interaction between the factory owner and Arte Povera artists such as Piero Manzoni that enabled such a special collection of art to exist in Herning.” A fabric theme is carried throughout the project from the shape of the building which resembles a collection of shirtsleeves viewed from above, through the wall finishes. Fabric tarps were inserted into the formwork to yield a fabric texture to the buildings exterior walls of white .

© Steen Gyldendal
© Steen Gyldendal
Cite: "Herning Center of the Arts / Steven Holl Architects" 14 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=34833>
  • http://www.archilocus.com archilocus

    I like the model, the interlacing roofs are formal but could be interesting in terms of light. I totally dislike the cheap modernist facades which make the roof concept unclear. A glassed facade or at least one more homogeneous would have probably been better.




    • fl!p


    • Anon

      Can I ask you to post in English?

      Not only it is a respect to the international nature of the site, it makes you look less like you’re talking to yourself.


      • http://www.vitsee.wordpress.com Vitsee

        yes, lets respect the international nature of the site by making everybody post in one language.

    • fl!p

      just make it sure your opinion is understood by many.. so it wont be useless..

      • gi

        haha,dont you use google translation?it is an ad facing to chinese…

  • Tee

    Love the covering of the roof layers!
    Althogh its interesting, but i don´t like the texture of the concrete!

    • http://www.vitsee.wordpress.com Vitsee

      i like the texture… reminds me of a casually rumpled shirt – intentional?

      • http://www.newghost.net Tali Purkerson

        Going along with the seemingly common theme of scandinavian architecture, he falls into a certain type of sterility, but in an interesting way I think he pulls off small jewles of flavor within his detailing work. I visited this site earlier this last summer, and the texture, while not clear from afar, is, up close and through interaction, conceptually in alignment with the ‘crumpled fabric’ notion Holl was going for, and the entrance brick pattern is quite distinctive, however subtle it is also. There is certainly a tactile illusion created by the ‘textile’ metaphor. The inside also never repeats any angles in the ceiling membranes. There are some poorly designed parts in terms of circulation and space, but overall it appeared to be a wonderful building ( at least while it was in the final stages of construction, when I was present) But I do agree, its not his best work, and the context of the site is also fairly bare, surrounded by another building in which the exterior only was also designed by Holl, in order to compliment the Herning center.

        I have further pictures on my site if anyone is curious. Also, they are trying to figure out a way to organize the cafeteria in the back part of the building, they said they were looking for ideas in arrangement to create a more “formal dining” atmosphere. Nonetheless for the time being, it does appear like a cafeteria. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do…

  • juanitø

    i just went there this past weekend and i have to say the building is not that impressive, it is somewhat mediocre, not one of S holl’s best.

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  • Hsu

    Ronchamp? It just remind me this! But anyway, fantastic…

    agree with Tee, the texture of concrete is not convincing to me either..

  • a sphere

    very brilliant way to make skylight by layering the roofs
    thanks Holl

  • http://www.ft3arc.com Fino

    I think this is absolutely wonderful. Could this perhaps be a Louis Kahn tribute?

  • ryan

    very restrained for steven holl. not that he is ever really “over the top” as far as post-modernism is concerned. i like it for that reason

  • zp

    very gentle design. A lot of ideas but they are not overpowering the building itself.

  • helen

    the water colour is a little painful to look at. thats something really disappointing about architects depending on digital imaging these days i find.

    the cheap looking exterior panelling takes away from the elegance of the design.

    very ronchamp with light direction no? (roof gaps, light boxes..)

    nevertheless love the idea of interweaving fabric

  • http://www.garalysoka.com oscar falcón lara

    I like the overlapping upward curved roofs, the all white exterior and the very interesting framing views towards water this building has, serene yet admirable, quite awesome in fact.

  • Rupesh Jamkhindikar

    Depicts much from the modernist ideas…but Holl is one of the finest architects we have…sensuous if we may say so….

  • manda

    I think it is a mistake to base your concept in a way that it can only be seen from above, from a helicopter or a plane. People are not birds, we dont fly above the buildings. Concepts should be readable from the human perspective, and made clear while walking thorugh a building and around it and spending time in it. So to me this is just another modernistic building. But I like the textures and the series of views it offers. :)

    • zp

      i think that the concept is visible and makes strong psychological effect from inside. Ceiling in interior makes everything clear.

  • Halima

    Indeed very Ronchamp Chaplish design, as if it is a tribute to Corbusier.
    Agree to some extent what people have to say about the exterior wall texture. But one can love the texture, as it captures the fluidity of concrete. A snapshot of the transition of liquid concrete to its solid and rigid form. Very humbling scale as if the landscape is lifting its head to look around itself.

  • http://www.structurehub.com/blog StructureHub Blog

    Textural imprints on the concrete are certainly the most unique features of the design. If it weren’t for them, I’d give little thought to the building, frankly.

  • Lasse Lyhne

    For Steven Holl this is really not a good building, and not for Kjaer & Richter (who colaborated with SH on the completion) either…

    The old museum is in a building that used to be a shirt manufacturer, hence the morbid, OVERDONE textile metaphores.. And ofcause no textile ever touched the concrete, it is sheets of metal that have been used to make the imprints.

    This stuff might seem okay if we did’nt knew any better..

  • Ming

    I don’t like Holl’s production as Moma in Beijing,But I enjoy his purged modern style,like this.

    • http://www.4site-architecture.com peter

      is this ming from sydney and beijing?….. regardless holls work I find is more driven from an experience of space rather than formal approach.

  • Travis

    So did those grass roofs pan out like the watercolour wanted? I don’t see them in the photos or diagrams…
    I am uncertain about the seamlessness of the connection between landscape and the program…
    Although, I’m not sure that this kind of museum has any business with outdoor space (since the collections call for a more hermetic interior) it’s more of a formal gesture than an actual space that you’d use and enjoy as a patron/visitor/employee…

  • RT

    I respect holl’s writing more than his design work

    • http://www.4site-architecture.com peter

      RT what may I ask have you yourself built?? ….why? why why ????

      • http://www.archilocus.com archilocus

        And why such a haughty comment? If critique would be reserved to professional builders, we would all be about forty at least…

  • peterTheDOUCHEBAG

    peter what have YOU built

  • bryan

    pinwheel programmatic organization courtesy of frank lloyd wright

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