// arthitectural / Concept & Competition / BIG | Danish Maritime Museum

BIG | Danish Maritime Museum

Concept & Competition BIG | Danish Maritime Museum


How does one breathe new life into an abandoned dry dock?

While researching the placement of the Maritime Museum, we discovered the abandoned yet cavernous 150m long, 25m wide, and 9m deep concrete dry dock and knew straightaway that we had found the ideal location for our proposal. In order to build the Maritime Museum in the old dry dock it had to be reinforced in order not to cave in.

We could either support the structure through an added layer of concrete throughout its interior but this would cover its beautiful old concrete walls or by digging around the dry dock walls and creating supportive rib walls on its exterior which proves to be too costly. Instead we propose to bend the rules of the competition and place the museum on the periphery of the dry dock walls in order to both act as its new reinforcing structure but also serving as the façade of the new museum.


The museum is actually one continuous ramp performing a loop around the dry dock walls. Three bridges provide easy access across the void and connect different galleries with one another, to the main entrance and Helsingør’s harbor beyond. The continuous ramp’s gentle slope is a minor 1/50 which corresponds to water running off a bathroom floor, a public square or a ships deck. Walking around the museum it will be perceived as flat. Even though the earth is round, it is perceived as flat and similarly when sailing the world’s oceans one is experiencing this geometric paradox on ones own body. In the same way a visitor will walk the entire length of the museum and innocently arrive at the starting point – just a level beneath.Location: Helsingør, Denmark
Architect: BIG
Partner-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels
Project Leader: David Zahle
Contributors: Rune Hansen, Karsten Hammer Hansen, Andy Yu, Pablo Labra, Marc Jay, Maria Mavriku, Qianyi Lim, Peter Rieff, Tina Lund Højgaard, Annette Jensen, Johan Cool, Sara Sosio, Todd Bennett
Client: The Danish Mercantile and Maritime Museum, Helsingør Municipality
Size: 7200 sqm
Budget: DKK 130,000,000 MIO
Competition Date: 2007
Status: 1st Prize

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