kengo kuma set to build new hans christian andersen museum in denmark kengo kuma set to build new hans christian andersen museum in denmark
apr 22, 2016

kengo kuma set to build new hans christian andersen museum in denmark

kengo kuma set to build new hans christian andersen museum in denmark
all images courtesy of kengo kuma / cornelius+vöge architects




in denmark, the city of odense has revealed plans drawn up by japanese architect kengo kuma for a entirely new museum dedicated to the work of hans christian andersen. the competition-winning design, which was developed alongside cornelius+vöge architects, was chosen ahead of proposals by bjarke ingels group, snøhetta, and barozzi veiga. the project was revealed on the 211th anniversary of the author’s birth, and is strongly influenced by andersen’s much-loved fairy tales.

covered in lush greenery, an ensemble of curving pavilions occupy the site




the 9,000 square meter scheme forms part of the city’s ongoing regeneration, and includes a cultural center for children within the ‘enchanted gardens’ of the ‘lotzes have park’. covered in lush greenery, an ensemble of curving pavilions occupy the site, their form mimicked by spiraling hedgerows that form immersive maze sequences. the building itself has a floor space of 5,600 square meters, two-thirds of which is underground, creating a series of sunken fairy tale-inspired spaces.

an aerial view of the museum site




‘we have found a unique winning project,’ says odense’s mayor anker boye, who was also the jury chairman for the competition.the fact that kengo kuma is from japan only goes to show that sometimes you have to travel abroad to find home. the proposal has a unique quality that captures the spirit of both hans christian andersen and odense, has striking international caliber and is locally embedded at the same time. it is a project that I can only imagine taking place here in odense. but at the same time, it points far beyond anything local or national.’

spiraling hedgerows form immersive maze sequences




a competition for a combined exhibition-design concept based on the world view of hans christian andersen was won by british group event communications. according to jane jegind, odense’s alderwoman for urban and cultural affairs, the winning concept formed the basis of kengo kuma’s proposal. ‘in planning the project, 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,’ explains jegind. ‘this is another reason why it is brilliant to have found such a well-integrated and well-designed project that is both ingenious and magical. kengo kuma and the danish partners cornelius+vöge and MASU planning have created the perfect setting for the future presentation of hans christian andersen where we need a keener focus on his enchanting universe than on his personal life.’


the museum is now in the process of securing funding, with further announcements expected later this year.

the building features kuma’s distinct use of timber

underground areas form fairy tale-inspired spaces



site plan

movement across the site

concept diagram

sectional drawings illustrating the project’s construction 

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