Ah, the age old question: what's a starchitect to do when his proposed maritime museum is sited too closely to Kronborg Castle—setting of Shakespeare's Hamletand, therefore, government-protected land? While most would pack up, in hopes of finding a location that's not rubbing elbows with a literary tragedy, Bjarke Ingels just wasn't interested in doing it the easy way. Instead, the architecture it-boy made the bold choice to keep the spot and build the new Maritime Museum of Denmark underground. Sure, why not?
The town of Helsingør—site of the proposed museum—was once an epicenter of ship building, and still has quite a few drydocks—ship construction basins—that are no longer in use. It was actually one of these hollowed-out docks that caught Ingels' attention; to his wildly imaginative mind, it could used in building the 82,000-square-foot museum without obstructing the castle views. Indeed, Ingels and his team went to work excavating hundreds of tons of soil from the area surrounding the drydock, preserving the dock itself as a sort of courtyard and building the museum to line its perimeter. The dock now sits in the middle of the structure and provides a much-needed light source to the underground museum. Though there are three bridges connecting different exhibition spaces from the outside, the entire rest of the museum is discreetly tucked-away.
The Maritime Museum, which Ingels—who currently seems to be enjoying something of a sea obsession these days—first started working on in 2008, officially opened its subterranean doors earlier this month. Gizmodo has a few more shots of the completed project.
· A Decommissioned Drydock Hides This Museum Devoted To the Sea [Gizmodo]
· All Bjarke Ingels coverage [Curbed National]