The house of fairytales

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN MUSEUM
ODENSE DENMARK |

Architect Hugon Kowalski |
Architect Monika Więcek |
Architect/Landscape designer Magda Cichoń |

The project refers to the historical urban arrangement of Odense. Among the historical development within a cluster of streets in the city center, the birth house of Hans Christian Andersen is preserved. This modest building is the key part of writer’s Museum. Before the building of the expressway the park located behind Andersen’s home had been a walled garden. The access to it was encumbered with a tight development of the row around it which created the atmosphere of intimacy and secrecy.  Due to the planned reconstruction of the city center the Garden can be reverted to its original size. The removal of the existing buildings of the Museum allows full exploitation of the area, setting out new vantage points of Memorial Hall dominant, and the establishment of new functional connections between the Museum, the garden, and the city.

THE GARDEN
The garden is designed to be a wild landscape garden.  Its informal style evokes meadows and gardens from Andersen’s works that are inhabited by small animals. Drawing the line between nature and the urban tissue emphasizes the intimacy of the place. It enables the visitor to leave Odense to a magical world of a fairy tale.  Vegetation fills the whole park tightly.  Wild, indigenous species grow the terrain creating magical corners and hidden spots. A medley of different plants keeps the garden lively from early spring to late autumn. Stripes of cut grass serve as paths. On the eastern end of the area is the lake that makes home to birds, ducks, and doves.  The part of its bottom forms a skylight that lets the light into the part of museum located below.  It also allows to view the Memorial Hall through water surface.  In the center of the garden there is the Nest.  This is the location of the Culture Center for Children. Due to the close connection of the building to its surroundings, it is possible to conduct classes in both these spaces. Children dressed up like fable characters can enter the park and continue to play outside becoming also the “part of exposition”.

THE NEST
The premises of Culture Center for Children are located here. It includes the information desk, a cloak-room, restrooms, a cafe, the Workshop, designed for work with bigger groups, the Magic Wardrobe containing costumes, and the Story Telling Aula with the capacity of about 150 people. The Aula has a sloping profile that allows its gentle integration with the niche situated in the garden, separated from it with a folding glass facade. The scenery of the garden then can become a background for the stories told, and during summer such a composition allows to enlarge the auditorium and enables outdoor performances.  The exterior walls of the building are lined with bricks that are dislocated against each other to create soft chiaroscuro.   By this, a reference to the local building type is made. However, every shorter side of each brick is covered with a shiny glaze that reflects the surroundings. This effects in the building’s edges disappear lightly into the environment.

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