“The idea behind the architectural design resembled Andersen’s method, where a small world suddenly expands to a bigger universe,” elaborates Kengo Kuma and Associates.
Yuki Ikeguchi of Kengo Kuma and Associates with Cornelius Vöge and landscape architects MASU Planning has designed the H.C.Andersen Hus Museum for the Odense Municipality and A.P. Møller Fonden as a series of spaces in which the stories of the famed Danish writer unfold.
The project was to create a new building for the H.C. Andersen Museum, the garden, and cultural center in the heart of the city where Andersen was born.
The site is located in between a residential area with small traditional wooden houses from the Middle Ages and the newly developed urban area in Odense.
The stories to be told here are not only in written form but are to be experienced and sensed through physical spaces in the museum and in the garden.
There are profound messages in H.C. Andersen’s writing that reflect the author’s life and his life’s journey.
Andersen’s work projects the duality of the opposites that surround us: real and imaginary, nature and manmade, human and animal, light and dark.
Opposites coexist; they are not black and white.
The museum spaces are composed of a series of circular forms that are tangent to each other like a chain.
They are organized in a non-hierarchical, non-centric manner.
The continuous, curved green wall expands and traces the underground space structure and defines the garden and paths aboveground.
This green wall meanders and weaves in and out, above and under the ground throughout the site.
In the sequence of intertwined spaces, visitors will find themselves in between outside and inside as the green wall appears and disappears.
The journey of the museum follows the narratives and the elements of Andersen’s work.
The duality of opposites and dissolving boundaries are read through spatial composition and ambiguity.
The meandering paths through the garden area are to be experienced as an extension of the museum.
Here the architectural built form is diminished and visitors are led into the “maze,” a space created by trees and leaves.
The underground world is connected to the garden above through a series of sunken gardens that appear like a “hole” in the ground, or a “portal” from a fairytale world to the world outside.
The landscaped architecture, where elements of nature are merged with architectural elements, makes the experience unique.
Over the years to come, the garden will mature, offering the visitors and the community a sense of nature and seasons, its change of colors, scents, density, transparency, and scenery.
The H.C. Andersen Museum also plays a core role in the new Urbanscape of Odense.
The Garden of the museum is to offer a new quality public area, giving life to this “in-between” zone.
One part of the city, where the house where the writer was born stands, is a medieval townscape with small and meandering streets.
The meandering path and hedge garden bring back the human scale, making a soft link to the urban area of the city.
The reality and norm everyone was accustomed to in daily activities were questioned by something intangible and incomprehensible.
The architects felt as if they were experiencing Andersen’s world of fairytales, flighting the invisible, learning to adapt, and coping with the unknown, showing how his stories still speak to us today.
Project: H.C.Andersen Hus Museum
Architects: Kengo Kuma and Associates
Partner in Charge of Design: Yuki Ikeguchi
Project Architect: Nicolas Guichard
Chief Project Manager: Miruna Constantinescu
Architects of Record: Cornelius Vöge (design and tender phases) and C&W Ark (construction phases)
Landscape Design: MASU Planning
Engineering Design: Søren Jensen Engineering Consultants A/S
Lighting Design: Jesper Kongshaug
Exhibition Design: Event Communication
Client: Odense Municipality, A.P. Møller Fonden
Photographers: Rasmus Hjortshøj – Coast