BIG's 'sensitive, transparent' WWII bunker museum complex nears completion in Blåvand

A museum complex designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) partly on the site of a former German WWII bunker is nearing completion in Blåvand, western Denmark.

The Museum Center Blåvand – which CLAD understands could open as early as June – integrates four independent institutions that are embedded in the dunes around the Tirpitz bunker, which was constructed by Nazi Germany during the war and survived the Allies’ bombing campaigns.

In recent years it has served as a small museum dedicated to the history of the Atlantic Wall – a series of hundreds of coastal defences and fortifications built by the German army as a defence against an invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe .

BIG’s 2,800sq m (30,000sq ft) complex – which will house a bunker museum, an amber museum, a history museum and a special exhibitions gallery – is located at the intersection between a series of precise cuts in the dune-filled landscape.

The result is a an ‘absence’ in the dunes, which corresponds with the physical and symbolic block in the landscape formed by the bunker.

The four main institutions each have their own rectangular-shaped space, arranged around a shared central courtyard, and an underground tunnel links the site with the back of the Tirpitz bunker. The public enter the complex through trails cut into the surrounding dunes, linking to a footpath that loops around the complex.

A skylight features at the entrance of each gallery, allowing natural light to fill the space.

BIG founder Bjarke Ingels has previously described the architectural concept as “at once critical and respectful of the existing bunkers,” adding it will “add sensitively to the existing landscape and nature” of the site.

“As a vacuum rather than a volume, and symbolising transparency rather than gravity, it represents the new architecture of a light and easy antithesis of bunker architecture,” he said.

The studio won the competition for the project in 2012. It is one of a number of high-profile forthcoming cultural projects they have designed in Europe, including a stadium and cultural centre in Greenland, the LEGO House brand museum in Denmark, and new factory and visitor experience for mineral water company San Pellegrino in Italy.

Bjarke Ingels  BIG  architecture  design  Denmark  Museum Center Blåvand  Tirpitz  
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A museum complex designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) partly on the site of a former German WWII bunker is nearing completion in Blåvand, western Denmark. The Museum Center Blåvand – which CLAD understands could open as early as June – integrates four independent institutions that are embedded in the dunes around the Tirpitz bunker, which was constructed by Nazi Germany during the war and survived the Allies’ bombing campaigns.
Four independent institutions that are embedded in the dunes around the Tirpitz bunker / BIG
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