Statens Naturhistoriske Museum

The redevelopment and expansion of the Statens Naturhistoriske Museum is a unique opportunity to bring together in one place four institutions which together can tell

"...historierne om ekspeditioner til de fjerneste ørkener, bjerge og skove på kloden. De bærer historierne om generationer af dedikerede forskere og passionerede samlere, og de bærer historien om udviklingen af museet fra kunstkamre med rariteter til moderne naturvidenskabelige samlinger. Men disse omfattende samlinger er ikke blot en værdifuld del af vores kulturarv. De dokumenterer også, hvordan vores planet er formet, hvordan livet har udviklet sig, og hvordan vi deler verden med millioner af organismer, der alle, som vi, har fundet deres niche på Jorden. Og sidst, men ikke mindst, så dokumenterer samlingerne vores verdenssyn og leverer det videnskabelige fundament til vores moderne samfund."

While this redevelopment is very exciting it also brings with it a great responsibility to preserve what is best about Botanisk Have, while at the same time imagining a new future for the gardens, which best capitalizes on the opportunity presented by the Statens Naturhistoriske Museum.

This proposal suggests a way that the past and future histories of Botanisk Have and Statens Naturhistoriske Museum can be combined to create a dynamic, contemporary institution - but which comes out of the qualities of the existing context. Only by acknowledging how the gardens contribute to Copenhagen’s city fabric, can a proposal use the past to project into the future.




Botanisk Have is an integral part of the urban life of Copenhagen. Changes to the garden, and in particular, a substantial increase in building in the garden, risk changing its character irrevocably. In addition it would forever dilute the green band, which runs through the city and of which this garden forms an integral part. Thus, any new project must above all else preserve the quality of the garden setting and enhance it via specific interventions.

However, for the new institution to function properly, it must be joined together as a single building complex.


Part of the special quality of Botanisk Have is its "secret" quality, protected from the bustle of the adjacent streets by a perimeter of trees and fencing, which ensure a strong sense of being "inside" or "outside" the garden. Botanisk Have is a "world within a world" – a magical quality heightened by the existence of idyllic landscape settings, rare plants and wondrous environments such as the glasshouse interior.

However, Statens Naturhistoriske museum needs a strong identity to register it’s existence in the wider city.


Project undertaken in collabiration with Marie-Louise Holst, now of Matters