Leaving the 60 year old dock walls untouched, the galleries are placed below ground and arranged in a continuous loop around the dry dock walls – making the dock the centerpiece of the exhibition – an open, outdoor area where visitors experience the scale of ship building. A series of three double–level bridges span the dry dock, serving both as an urban connection, as well as providing visitors with short–cuts to different sections of the museum. The harbor bridge closes off the dock while serving as harbor promenade; the museum’s auditorium serves as a bridge connecting the adjacent Culture Yard with the Kronborg Castle; and the sloping zig-zag bridge navigates visitors to the main entrance. This bridge unites the old and new as the visitors descend into the museum space overlooking the majestic surroundings above and below ground. The long and noble history of the Danish Maritime unfolds in a continuous motion within and around the dock, 7 meters below the ground. All floors – connecting exhibition spaces with the auditorium, classroom, offices, café and the dock floor within the museum – slope gently creating exciting and sculptural spaces.
KiBiSi has designed the above ground bench system. The granite elements are inspired by ship bollards and designed as a constructive barrier that prevents cars from driving over the edge. The system is a soft shaped bench for social hangout and based on Morse code - dots and dashes writing a hidden message for visitors to crack.
The exhibition was designed by the Dutch exhibition design office Kossmann.dejong. The metaphor that underpins the multimedia exhibition is that of a journey, which starts with an imagining of the universal yearning to discover far away shores and experience adventures at sea. Denmark’s maritime history, up to the current role of the shipping industry globally, is told via a topical approach, including notions such as harbor, navigation, war and trade. The exhibition has been made accessible for a broad audience through the intertwining of many different perspectives on the shipping industry.
David Zahle, Partner–in–Charge, says: “For 5 years we have been working on transforming the old concrete dock into a modern museum, which required an archaeologist care and spacecraft designer's technical skills. The old lady is both fragile and tough; the new bridges are light and elegant. Building a museum below sea level has taken construction techniques never used in Denmark before. The old concrete dock with its 1.5 m thick walls and 2.5 m thick floor has been cut open and reassembled as a modern and precise museum facility. The steel bridges were produced in giant sections on a Chinese steel wharf and transported to Denmark on the biggest ship that has ever docked in Helsingør. The steel sections weigh up to 100 tons a piece and are lifted on site by the two largest mobile cranes in northern Europe. I am truly proud of the work our team has carried out on this project and of the final result.”
On Saturday October 5, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II, cut the ribbon to mark the grand opening. The new Danish National Maritime Museum is open to the public for outdoor activities, exhibitions and events, making the museum a cultural hub in the region throughout the year.
Danish National Maritime Museum, Helsingør, Denmark
Main architects: BIG
Partner-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, David Zahle
Site architect: Jeppe Ecklon
Project leader: David Zahle
Collaborators: Alectia (client consultant), Kossmann.dejong (exhibition designers), Rambøll (structure, MEP), Freddy Madsen Ingeniører (fire consultant), KiBiSi (product design)
Team: Alina Tamosiunaite, Alysen Hiller, Ana Merino, Andy Yu , Annette Jensen, Ariel Joy Norback Wallner, Christian Alvarez, Claudio Moretti, Dennis Rasmussen, Felicia Guldberg, Gül Ertekin, Henrik Kania, Jan Magasanik, Johan Cool, John Pries Jensen, Jonas Pattern, Karsten Hammer Hansen, Kirstine Ragnhild, Malte Chloe, Marc Jay, Maria Mavriku, Masatoshi Oka, Oana Simionescu, Pablo Labra, Peter Rieff, Qianyi Lim, Rasmus Pedersen, Rasmus Rodam, Rune Hansen, Sara Sosio, Sebastian Latz, Tina Lund Højgaard, Tina Troster, Todd Bennet, Xi Chen, Xing Xiong, Xu Li
Client: Maritime Museum Build
Area: 6,000 sqm