BIG architects: natural history museum proposal BIG architects: natural history museum proposal
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

  • \’the museum offers glimpses into the exterior surroundings\’ – AKA it has windows


    PG says:
  • good luck with the detailing / sealing

    Michael says:
  • BIG has to decide whether they ‘re a photoshop office, or an architecture practice.

    Ryan says:
  • This has such a great feel and atmosphere for a Natural History Museum… it would be great to see this applied to the one in London… I’d love to see this scheme intersecting with the existing building…

    Finlay says:
  • I love it!

    Jane says:
  • Wow..!!! it is so fresh structure.

    so-jin seung says:
  • :d

    MATHI says:
  • Cant believe those negative comments. Are you guys better than BIG? How come no one knows you.?!

    J says:
  • Cant believe people aren’t entitled to their own opinion. I support BIG(s) ideas – but this doesn’t get my vote & it doesn’t matter who I work for.

    //A says:
  • sorry BIG not this time, some of your buildings have a great fresh feeling to them that cities require, but to ignore context in such a manner is foolhardy. This is pavilion architecture and shouldn’t (in my opinion) really apply to something that should be as permanent and solid as a museum. Still nice to see architects pushing boundaries, but maybe in a more experimental, low risk manner like expos and high end retail.

    DPR says:
  • I love the connection between form and use.
    If you could walk ontop of it, it would be awesome.
    But otherwise it looks like a pimple in the middle of what was (i’m guessing) a beautiful square.

    idea = good
    resolution = lazy

    Matt says:
  • Congratulations to Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter for actually winning this competition. The jury thoroughly dismantled this particular scheme during judging.

    Reality says:
  • This is not architecture. Good for the jury for being so critic with them. Architecture is not about how many programs you are able to use and how many renders you can produce. Big is getting out of ideas and trying to copy what others did before in a proper scale turning it in the monumentality. I’m missing feelings in this project.

    Do not like says:
  • Icy cool!
    I prefer this to the winning project.

    Ruth says:
  • all haters always comment on stuff that is really good!

    nightfly says:
  • Gorgeous proposal for a new natural history museum in Denmark by BIG architects.

    rugenius says:
  • Natural History = Mineral. (-:

    So phist cat says:
  • Technically difficult but heroic all the same. Its work like this that pushes architecture forward.

    oliver bridge says:
  • Yes is more

    ghooray says:

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