BIG architects: natural history museum proposal
original content
aug 06, 2012
BIG architects: natural history museum proposal

‘new natural history museum’ proposal by BIG architects
all images courtesy of BIG

BIG architects‘ proposal for the new natural history museum in denmark is a man-made mineral landscape which adapts to the
organic forms of the botanical garden situated in the centre of copenhagen where the institution is located – their extension is a
formation of rocks which intersect with the surrounding green park landscape.

above ground, the site’s existing geological garden stands as the public entrance plaza where all services and activities are
housed below the overhead perforated stone surface of the new annex. the botanical garden is an addition
to the current romantic garden on the premises. this green space gets a discreet cut into the surrounding environment
providing garden views from the interior of the structure, while also offering glimpses into the galleries themselves from the exterior.
both the geological and botanical gardens incorporate exhibition functions underground.

the two main programs of the building are the grand whale hall and greenhouses, both of which are sunken into the land
and shaped by the structural grid, incorporating exhibition functions underground.

the public scopes are housed at ground level making them easily accessible. the grand whale hall – which exhibits some of the
oldest skeletons found on earth – becomes the new heart of the museum. the first subterranean level connects all of the buildings
already on site to form a continuous exhibition loop which starts and ends with this central area. the galleries and greenhouses
within this section receive daylight through skylights in the landscape. the second subgrade level encompasses all spaces
which don’t require any daylight intake such as storage spaces and light-sensitive exhibitions.

the new heart of the museum is the grand whale hall

subterranean levels of the museum house light sensitive galleries

botanical garden

the museum is illuminated through skylights

the museum offers glimpses into the exterior surroundings


rendering of BIG’s extension proposal in context to the existing site

rendering of BIG’s extension proposal in context to the existing site by night

the extension is a landscape of rocks intersecting the site’s green park landscape

the overhead perforated stone surface allows light to flood through the interior

internal model aerial view

model view of the grand whale hall which is the new heart of the museum

model of the museum in context to the existing site


model of the entrance plaza

the existing buildings of the site form a loop which starts and ends with the grand whale hall

model aerial views


clockwise from top left: intersection between two landscapes; geological and botanical garden; underground museum; whale hall and greenhouses

clockwise from top left: exhibition level -2; exhibition level -1; entrance level; entrance level

project info:

project: natural history museum
type: competition
client: ministry of climate, energy and buildings, university of copenhagen
collaborators: AKT II, wissenberg, vogt landscape, space syntax london, kvorning design og kommunikation, davis langdon (AECOM), luxigon
size: 38 000 m2
location: copenhagen, denmark
status: idea
partner in charge: bjarke ingels, andreas pedersen
project leader: jakob henke
team: frederk lyng, ryohei koike, ricardo palma, karol borkowski, alina tamosiunaite, teresa fernadez rojo, martin jonsbæk nielsen

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bjarke ingels group / BIG (121 articles)

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