Kengo Kuma & Associates, in a team with Cornelius+Vöge and landscape architects MASU planning, have revealed plans for the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, Denmark. Channeling the otherworldliness of Andersen’s fairy tales, the 5,600 square meter building is two-thirds below grade, leaving ground level space for “enchanted” gardens of large trees, lawns, box hedges, and tall shrubs. 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.
"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 calibre and is locally embedded at the same time."
The architectural competition was preceded by a separate contest to organize the exhibitions, and the building responds to the winning plans of design group Event Communications. The museum will also play host to Tinderbox, a children’s center themed around Andersen’s fables.
According to Jane Jegind, Odense’s head of cultural affairs, "It was important to us that gardens, building and exhibition design were envisaged as an interconnected whole that clearly captures the spirit of Andersen and brings out the essence of the city of Odense at the same time.”
The team’s design beat out other major contenders, including BIG, Barozzi Veiga, and Snøhetta. Project funding is expected to be secured later this year, and completion of the building is expected in 2020.