Moesgaard Museum - Part of the Landscape

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Moesgaard Museum Part of the Landscape

TEXT Josefine Lykke Jensen, Marie Abildhauge Olesen, Morten Schjødt-Pedersen, Camilla Bengtsen PROOFREADER Natalie Jeffers LAYOUT Josefine Lykke Jensen, Marie Abildhauge Olesen, Morten Schjødt-Pedersen PHOTOS Jan Kofod Winther (cover, 12-13, 20-21 top), Jens Lindhe (6, 16, 30, 34), Martin Schubert (4, 14, 18, 20, 22 bottom, 24 top) OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS Henning Larsen Architects INSTAGRAM PHOTOS Alexander Nariswair, Ana Magalhães Ilharco, Anne Hlene Kretzschmar Fink, Benedicte Vahle, Brian Kirkebaek, Catrine K. Reimann, Gertrud Høher Kiil Jørgensen, Gitte Johansen, Gustav Kjær Vad Nielsen, Jonathan Sol Serejo, Kathrine Bredlund Sørensen, Keld Moesgaard, Kirsten Sølling, Kristian Krath, Lars J. Lykke, Lea Korsgaard Nielsen, Line Ehlig Petersen, Lotte Hahn Kofoed, Lotte Lee Møller, Louise Haven Carlsen, Lwin Than Dar Oo, Malene Søby Sørensen, Marianne Friborg, Martin Thim, Mathias Brockdorff, Mikkel Rye Ottosen, Niels Kildahl, Nina Kampmann, Nina Maria Kiel Revsbech, Pernille Kirk Vestergaard, Rasmus Halmø Truelsen, Rikke Olafson, Tina Lund, Ulla Daugaard, Waheed Mehr

Moesgaard Museum Part of the Landscape

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The architecture in itself supports the vision that this is more than a museum. It is a place of being. Jan Skamby Madsen Museum Director

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A NATURAL CHALLENGE In the green hills of Skåde, the new Moesgaard Museum breaches the rolling green landscape. Jan Skamby Madsen, Director of the museum, explains the incentive and the vision for the prizewinning building. “If you need to completely rethink the way you present things, you also need new surroundings.” It is that simple, if you ask Jan Skamby Madsen, who has watched the development of the new Moesgaard Museum from his accession to the directorship in 1996 to the official opening in October 2014. Before the new museum became a reality, the culturehistorical collection was exhibited in the nearby historic manor house, Moesgård. But the inflexible surroundings of the historically listed manor house were limiting the possibilities of the museum: “Previously, you needed to be an amateur archaeologist to find our collection interesting, because it was simply exhibits displayed in endless rows. We wanted to reinvent ourselves,” explains the Director. The days of being boxed-in had to come to an end and a new building, tailor-made for international exhibitions, was scheduled.

the artefacts on display—to give visitors a sense of the excitement of discovery. Instead of just passing by row upon row of display cases that keep the objects at a distance, visitors should feel they are a part of the excavation. It was therefore with great expectations that Jan Skamby Madsen looked forward to the new museum, but the Director also had great concerns about placing an enormous building in the beautiful landscape south of Aarhus. “It was essential to us that we got a spacious building with the opportunity to explore new ways of communicating the past, but, at the same time, we wanted the building to be fitted well into the landscape. What troubled us the most was, how we could build big in these beautiful hills without destroying the natural surroundings. We were very uneasy about this, because we love this place so much.” Henning Larsen Architects’ proposal convinced the management of the museum that the challenge could be resolved, and so began the construction of the new Moesgaard Museum.

The idea with the new building was to position museum visitors at eye level with the archaeologists who dug out

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Bay of Aarhus

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New Moesgaard Museum Building Site

Old Manor of Moesgaard Museum

Skåde Hills


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PART OF THE LANDSCAPE Appearing as part of the landscape, the new museum building rises above the historic landscape. Inspired by the process of archaeological excavation, the building gradually reveals its exhibitions in several underground levels. Moesgaard Museum has been designed as an integrated landscape feature, set into and rising from the culturally historic landscape of Skåde. The roof of the museum rises from the ground, creating a new feature in the hilly landscape. The raised end is enclosed in large glass sections, which offer views into the museum and invite visitors into the underground world, where the treasures of the past are displayed.

The large and bright foyer stretches vertically, spanning several floors. The levels of the museum are physically connected by a central staircase, dotted with small displays, that follows the rising terrain. From the foyer, visitors can access a large rooftop terrace, which can be used for outdoor café service, open-air concerts or ornithological studies when the birds of the forests of Moesgaard fly south.

The sloping grassy roof is publicly accessible around the clock all year long as an outdoor recreation area for citizens and visitors. From the top of the roof – about 90 meters above sea level – there is a stunning view of the surrounding landscape and the Bay of Aarhus. The new vantage point increases the attraction value in the area, which has long been a popular excursion spot for the citizens of Aarhus.

“The foyer is a generous space that visitors can enjoy without having to buy a ticket for the museum exhibitions. It creates life in the building and the overall impression of a pleasant and accommodating building. Here you can take a break from the controlled environment of the exhibitions, enjoy the horizon and take in the daylight”, Mr. Edeltoft continues.

“It is important that the museum does not subtract anything from the area but adds new amenity values. By making the roof accessible, still, the area around Moesgaard can be used for picnics, runs, or as a giant toboggan hill during the winter”, architect and project manager Niels Edeltoft from Henning Larsen Architects, points out.

With its many split levels, the museum is inspired by the excavations of archaeologists, gradually unveiling layers of history. The gesture of split levels recurs in the permanent exhibition space, which is also the largest. Each exhibition room is complemented by a sunny break room, where visitors can relax in soft furniture and enjoy the view of the landscape.

Underneath the lifted blanket of grass buzzes the internal activity of the museum. The first space is a grand foyer which connects the activities of the museum and provides visitors with a quick visual overview of the building. Service functions, such as ticket sales, a museum gift shop and a café, are located here as well.

“We have found a good balance,” Mr. Edeltoft sums up, “in which the daylight contributes to a comfortable and beautiful, spacious experience while the large roof surface towards the south keeps direct light and heat out of the building, thereby reducing the need for additional cooling. Moesgaard Museum is also an organic building.”

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JULY 2011


The topping-out ceremony for the new Moesgaard Museum took place in January 2011. Afterwards, the excavation and movement of 120,000 m³ earth, the driving down of sheet piles and the pile foundation in the Northern part of the building plot started. In August 2011, the foundation is by and large completed.

In the fall of 2011, the construction of the northern part of the building began. In-situ concrete with white cement, visible taper holes, and a smooth surface for the many walls was chosen.

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JUNE 2012

JUNE 2014

During the summer of 2012, the shape of the building rises to 21 metres above terrain. The 12 meter long stern elements with a weight of 30 tons begin to draw the building in the landscape. In total, 9,500 m³ concrete and 1,200 tons of metal sheathing have been used in the construction.

The building was handed over to Moesgaard Museum on September 6. Shortly after, the first employees moved into the building. Moesgaard Museum was officially inaugurated by Her Majesty Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark on October 10, 2014.

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The new Moesgaard Museum is much more than a monument of culturehistorical treasures of the past. It is a multifunctional house of culture and knowledge that will benefit museum guests, students and scientists. Niels Edeltoft Project Manager, Henning Larsen Architects

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It was about creating the opportunity to facilitate our knowledge in a way that is interesting to children, parents, and grandparents. There should be something for everyone in spite of their prerequisites. Jan Skamby Madsen Museum Director

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AN EMBEDDED IDENTITY Henning Larsen Architects has designed a wide range of solutions for the new Moesgaard Museum. This includes customised design of the lobby, café, museum shop, cloakroom and reception and formulating a clear visual identity. This alignment of graphic, interior and architectural design unites the museum’s exterior and interior, and creates a total museum experience. “The starting point for the interior design lay in the synergy between architecture, landscape and museum identity. In all projects we aim to align context, architecture and interior design, in order to arrive at a holistic solution”, explains Design Manager Christian Andresen of Henning Larsen Architects. “Moesgaard Museum is a spacious building, and a natural challenge has therefore been to adjust the overall experience to a human scale. We have sought to reign in the spaciousness of the large rooms and concentrate on the people who will be using the space.” The materiality of the interior design connects with the overall expression of the building. The exterior of the building is dominated by the bold canted gesture of the concrete roof, which rises from the ground to define the entire building. The interior harmonises with the exterior of Moesgaard Museum, which has been designed to reflect this raw and true-to-nature expression. The interior walls follow the same aesthetic, and are either painted or left as rough concrete. Fibre concrete is used throughout the museum for the permanent furniture, giving the impression that the furniture grows out of the building.

Other dominant materials include wool, oak, and darkstained ash. In general, soft comfortable lounge furniture and a palette of earth tones and Nordic materials characterise the interior design of Moesgaard Museum. In connection with the Ethnographic display—part of the permanent exhibition—the furniture is upholstered in bright red, orange, and shades of pink in order to create a coherent expression, while punctuating the space with lively moments of colour. Part of creating the complete interior assignment involved defining the new museum’s visual identity as distinct from the visual identity of the nearby original Moesgaard Museum: “The inspiration behind the visual identity stems from archaeological findings. The constant exploration of human history continues to inform and define who we are today. Just like the delicate excavation of historic artefacts, the logotype is gradually made visible. With ideals like culture, history and nature, the new visual identity is a symbol of the gradual discovery of our collective identity”, Christian Andresen elaborates.

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PERMANENT FURNITURE Break room unit Oiled oak veneer, high pressure laminate, leather, wool Resting bench Powder-coated steel, leather Permanent bench Leather, wool, high pressure laminate Community table Linoleum, dark stained ash

Shop Fibre concrete, Corian, stainless steel, high pressure laminate Lectern High pressure laminate Wardrobe High pressure laminate, stainless steel

Movable ticket stand Fibre concrete, Corian Reception Fibre concrete, Corian, glass, high pressure laminate, stainless steel

As part of the visual identity, Henning Larsen Architects’ Design Department created a set of primary and secondary logotypes, colour palette, photo style, fixed elements, as well as indoor and outdoor signage. As a whole, all components of the visual identity play a role in supporting the museum atmosphere, experience and its lasting impression on visitors. Furthermore, in order to distinctively rebrand Moesgaard Museum, the name MOMU was coined: “MOMU is a world-class museum. With MOMU in focus, Moesgaard Museum speaks to both national and international guests and can easily be pronounced, tagged and referred to,” Christian Andresen notes. The new visual identity conveys a museum of authentic stories, focusing on the past, present and future.

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Rotating magazine stand Black desktop linoleum

Black stained ash

Black adjusting screws under the table legs

Community table The community table is designed to instill a sense of shared experience and facilitate interac­tion. The table can bring people together who visit the museum alone and accommodate large groups of visitors.

Classic black brown leather

Grey and brown 70% new wool/30% viscose

Resting bench The resting benches are found in many locations throughout the building, and in the foyer, where newly-arrived visitors can sit and wait for family and friends. The resting benches are placed such that visitors can enjoy the view out to the landscape or in towards the expressive rooms of the museum.

High-pressure laminate

Light grey 70% new wool/30% viscose Oiled oak veneer Grey and brown 70% new wool/30% viscose

High-pressure laminate

Break room unit The break room units are designed to invite the visitor to take a break between exhibi­ tions. When visiting the exhibitions—and all the sounds, visualisations and videos associated with them—you need to clear your head and take a rest once in a while. The break room units provide a comfortable resting area with a great view of the rolling green land­ scape surrounding Moesgaard Museum.

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The new museum will be the first of its kind in Denmark to accommodate exhibitions of very high caliber. It is not just a giant scoop for the museum but for all of Denmark as a nation. Jan Skamby Madsen Museum Director

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More images on Instagram #moesgaardmuseum #momu @henninglarsenarchitects

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CLIENT Moesgaard Museum ARCHITECT Henning Larsen Architects LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Kristine Jensens Tegnestue ENGINEERS COWI CLIENT ADVISER D-K2 CONTRACTORS MT Højgaard and Lindpro CONTRACTOR

Team from Henning Larsen Architects RESPONSIBLE PARTNER Louis Becker PROJECT MANAGER Niels Edeltoft DESIGN RESPONSIBLE (COMPETITION PHASE) Troels Troelsen ARCHITECT AND DESIGN MANAGER Elizabeth Ø. Balsborg TEAM OF ARCHITECTS Birte Bæk, Carsten Fisher, Elizabeth Ø. Balsborg, Gitte Edelgren, Greta Lillienau, Hans Vogel, Henrik Vuust, Irma Persson Käll, Johnny Holm Jensen, Julie Daugaard Jensen, Lars Harup, Lars Krog Hansen, Magnus Folmer Hansen, Mai Svanholt, Maja Aasted, Martha Lewis, Matthias Lehr, Niels Edeltoft, Peter Koch, Sarah Kübler, Stefan Ernst Jensen, and Troels Troelsen INTERIOR DESIGN TEAM Christian Andresen, Karima Andersen, Louise Poulsen, Marie Louise Mangor

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