They will draw Denmark's new natural history museum – University of Copenhagen

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They will draw Denmark's new natural history museum 

NEW MUSEUM BUILDING. It has now been disclosed which six architects will compete in forming Denmark's new natural history museum at the Botanical Garden. It will be the largest Danish museum building in recent years. Among the architects are well-known Danish and international names such as Bjarke Ingels Group, Lundgaard & Tranberg and David Chipperfield Architects.

Together with director of the Building Agency, Carsten Jarlov, and museum director of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, Morten Meldgaard, a happy rector of Copenhagen University, Ralf Hemmingsen, could present the six teams competing to form Denmark's new natural history museum.

With its location in the heart of Copenhagen at the Botanical Garden, the museum will be an exciting centre for the natural sciences in Denmark.


- Denmark's new natural history museum will be a beacon that through innovative presentation will give children and adolescents a desire to have something to do with science. At the same time the museum will secure modern and inspiring surroundings for our researchers. So I am very proud that with this architect competition we take the crucial step towards securing the future framework for presentation and research in science, says Ralf Hemmingsen, rector of Copenhagen University.

Completely new framework

When finished, the new natural history museum will hold one of the 10 largest natural history collections in the world. The new museum will replace the old museums, the Zoological Museum, the Geological Museum and the Botanical Museum physically and when it comes to presentation of knowledge. So it is somewhat of a task the participating architectural firms have before them.

- Today we present six fantastic teams who have all previously proved that they can create visionary architectural solutions required by a building of this calibre. And we are convinced that they will all deliver unique solutions to the museum building that will be the largest and most comprehensive in Denmark in recent years, says Carsten Jarlov, director of the Building Agency.

The six teams

  1. Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter; architect Claus H. Pryds; EKJ Consulting Engineers; professor and landscape architect Steen Høyer

  2. Snøhetta (N); Arup, London (GB); Esbensen Consulting Engineers LordCulture (F); Office for Visual Interaction (USA)

  3. David Chipperfield Architects, Berlin (D); Arup, Berlin (D); Wirtz International (B)

  4. Cowi; Steven Holl (USA); MVVA (USA); Guy Nordenson and Associates (USA), Transsolar (D)

  5. Bjarke Ingels Group; AKT II (UK); Wissenberg, Vogt Landscape(CH), Space Syntax (UK); Kvorning design og kommunikation

  6. Kengo Kuma +Associates (J); Erik Møller Arkitekter; Jaja Architects; Buro Happold Cph; Thing og Wainø; 2+1 Idébureau; HaCaFrø 

Each team will receive a fee of DKK 500,000 and in addition to that the winner will receive DKK 500,000 as a prize. The competition period runs from November 24, 2011 until February 29, 2012, and a winner will be published by the end of May 2012. The competition and the museum project can be followed on the website You can also visit the newly opened info hall in the Botanical Garden.

The new museum is expected to cost more than one billion DKK. A number of private foundations have expressed a positive interest in the project, whereas the state and the University of Copenhagen contribute with the site and buildings of a total value of around 385 million DKK. In addition to this it has been a decisive factor for the further work towards the establishment of a new museum that the University board in March 2010 decided to guarantee the future operation of the Natural History Museum at minimum the current level.

The six competing teams say

- To draw the new Natural History Museum of Denmark is not only an extremely interesting and demanding task; it is also a task with an obligation: The green oasis of Copenhagen must be preserved with all its qualities. The new must be placed and form a stronger unit between garden and museum in order that the garden will be a richer place when the museum is finished. The team we have put together has this as its common objective

 - to give Copenhagen and Denmark a beautiful museum, where the garden and its history still plays the lead role, says Lene Tranberg from Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects and Claus H. Pryds.

- We, from the Architect office Snøhetta, have for more than 20 years specialized in the meeting between building and landscape, between form and nature. With the team we have gathered consisting of: Arup, Esbensen Consulting Engineers, LORD Culture og OVI Office for Visual Interaction, we feel we are a good candidate to find optimal and surprising solutions to this exciting task. We look forward to it, says Snøhetta, Oslo.

- With our work we aim to uncover qualities which already exist in a location. We see the task with Copenhagen's New Natural History Museum more as a re-orchestration of what is already there, rather than importing new qualities, says David Chipperfield Architects.

- We are enthusiastic to be able to participate in a competition with such an exciting assignment, with such skilled participants and together with an international team who all have the deepest respect for and curiosity about the possibilities to give this unique location in Copenhagen new architectural qualities, says Steven Holl from Steven Holl Architects.

- The old Zoological Museum is for me one of the highlights of my childhood. For once a museum which was full of fantastic thrills, artificial landscapes, huge skeletons and stuffed animals - all in all a run for your money and a rare fusion of learning and entertainment, knowledge and adventure. The future natural history museum should not only gather the Zoological, Geological and Botanical Museums in a new integrated institution, but it should also be fitted in as a natural part of the Botanical Garden as a new and different hybrid between building and landscape with exhibitions both inside and outside. We are really excited to be able to give our version of the natural history museum of the future - a challenge of great complexity as to contents, exhibitions, city and landscape, and with a huge potential, says Bjarke Ingels, BIG.

- Botanical Garden is a strongly significant site in Copenhagen, which requires a special understanding and empathy in order to determine the right balance between the new and existing. We approach the task with both respect for the existing values and with the courage to add the new elements that can both create the necessary rethinking and renewal of the Botanical Garden, and a modern state of the art Natural History Museum. Program and location allows for creating a unique symbiosis of garden and museum, which are not found anywhere else in the world, says Erik Møller Arkitekter and Kengo Kuma & Associates.