After the Danish National Maritime Museum, BIG has designed an iconic new museum and landmark, the Tirpitz Museum in Varde, Denmark. The chosen site is a bunker in the Atlantic Wall, a line of fortifications extending from Norway to France that the Germans built for defence against the Allies during the Second World War. Construction of the Varde bunker began late in 1944 and was not completed before the Germans surrendered in 1945; in 1991 the city government made it into a history museum.
BIG’s project expands on the existing bunker with a new structure perfectly integrated into the landscape offering “absence” as a counterweight to the dark presence: an invisible volume disappearing into the sand. All visitors can see from a distance is the bunker. The paths leading to the new underground structure only become visible when they are approached. The four routes through the museum cut into the dunes and lead to an open central courtyard, from which visitors can access the four underground tunnels.
Floor-to-ceiling windows let daylight into the galleries, and the interior design is by Dutch studio Tinker Imagineers. From the central courtyard, visitors can independently access each of the galleries or, alternatively, follow a continuous route that goes through them all, and along an underground path directly to the Tirpitz bunker.
Design: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group
Location: Varde, Denmark
Images courtesy of BIG, photo by Mike Bink, Laurian Ghinitou, Rasmus Hjortshøj, Frederik Lyng.