Museum in and of the garden
The redevelopment and expansion of the Statens Naturhistoriske Museum was a unique opportunity to bring together four institutions and their collections in one place. The brief noted that the collections “carry the stories of generations of dedicated researchers and passionate collectors and of the development of the museum. These collections also document how our planet is shaped, how life has evolved, and how we share the world with millions of organisms, all of which, like us, have found their niche on Earth.”
While this redevelopment was an exciting opportunity, it brought a great responsibility to preserve what is best about Botanisk Have, while at the same time imagining a new future for the gardens. Botanisk Have is an integral part of the urban life of Copenhagen, and changes to the garden risked changing its character irrevocably. Additional buildings would 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. For the new institution to function properly, it must be joined together as a single building complex.
The proposal suggested 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, could a proposal use the past to project into the future. This project was shortlisted in an international competition in 2009.
Intertwining Site and Building Circulation