Project: Tirpitz Museum Extenion
Author: BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group)
Partners in Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Finn Norkjaer
Area: 2800.0 m2
Location: Blåvand, Denmark
Year: 2014 – 2017
Danish firm BIG finished construction of the “Invisible Museum” in Blåvand, Denmark, by cutting linear passageways out of the sand dune beside a bunker built by German forces during the second world war.
BIG’s design creates new exhibition spaces for the Tirpitz Bunker, which already housed a small museum. The four slender slices channel through the dune beside the bunker, forming passageways. They intersect in the centre, creating a light-filled courtyard that creates a new heart for the Tirpitz Museum.
Six-metre-tall windows form the elevations of the four separate blocks, created by the cuts to allow natural light to penetrate the underground exhibition spaces.
“The architecture of the Tirpitz is the antithesis to the world war two bunker. The heavy hermetic object is countered by the inviting lightness and openness of the new museum, the galleries are integrated into the dunes like an open oasis in the sand – a sharp contrast to the Nazi fortress’ concrete monolith. The surrounding heath-lined pathways cut into the dunes from all sides descending to meet in a central clearing, bringing daylight and air into the heart of the complex,” he continued.” – said BIG founder Bjarke Ingels.
The four themed exhibition spaces were designed by Dutch studio Tinker Imagineers to reflect the war history of the site, as well as the dramatic natural setting. The Army of Concrete gallery shares the history of Hitler’s plans for a vast network of defensive coastal structures known as the Atlantic Wall.
Work on the Tirpitz Bunker began in 1944 as part of those plans, but the second world war ended before construction could complete. The turreted concrete block was later converted into a museum.
The second exhibition space, named the Gold of the West Coast, is dedicated to the area’s amber finds, while the West Coast Stories gallery hosts a 4D screen telling the history of Denmark’s western coast. The final exhibit is the Tirpitz Bunker itself.
The bunker remains the only landmark of a not-so-distant dark heritage that, upon close inspection, marks the entrance to a new cultural meeting place.
Work on the 2,800-square-meter museum began in 2014 and opened last week. It is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors to the area each year.
Author: Nanuka Zaalishvili