the natural history museum of denmark

The new Natural History Museum of Denmark will be established by expanding ‘The Sølvtorv complex’, the former Polytechnic College’s historical buildings by the Botanical Garden in Copenhagen.

The majority of the expansion consists of exhibition space and storerooms for the museum’s extensive collections, organized as a multi-level underground facility, surrounding the existing buildings and filling out the space in between.

‘The Sølvtorv complex’ will be designed for the museum’s research, teaching and administration, and will become an integrated part of the new museum. The historic building-ensemble will be linked by constructing light, transparent buildings in between to form one connecting space, intuitively connected with the new underground section and accessible to guests arriving from both the city and the garden.

A new whale-hall will be built in the garden’s current inner courtyard area: An organically shaped glass-building, from where the museum’s unique collection and knowledge of the world’s largest mammals, will be communicated.

The whale-hall towers over the smaller buildings, and is visible from a distance as the new museum’s visual attraction and landmark.

The main focus of the project is that the Preserved Botanical Garden will continue to have a leading role role and figure as a central element in the museum’s mediation of natural science. The absence of actual new buildings at the scene is a central point, accentuating the park and balancing out the heavy historical buildings with authenticity and dignity.

Only a few new skylights and atriums signal that something wonderful and exiting is happening underground. Down here, contrasting the modest exterior above ground, a universe unfolds where all architectural effects are put to use, offering an abundance of spatial and sensuous experiences, literally staging natural history.

With the whale-hall as the central spatial focus ‘Sølvtorvskomplekset’ remains the architectural anchorage point, allowing easy access to every section of the museum.

Project data:

Sølvgade 83, København

31.300 m2

Bygningsstyrelsen / Københavns Universitet

Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter og Claus Pryds Arkitekter

EKJ Rådgivende Ingeniører

Professor, landscape architect Steen Høyer

1st prize won in international competition 2012
Under construction