BIG adds a corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark

BIG-designed refugee museum opens in Denmark

Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG has designed a museum dedicated to refugees in Oksbøl at the site of Denmark‘s largest refugee camp from World War II. Named ‘FLUGT’ the new cultural building gives a voice and a face to refugees worldwide and captures the universal challenges, emotions, spirit, and stories shared by displaced humans.

‘The Refugee Museum of Denmark explores an important part of our history and a theme that is more relevant than ever, with millions of refugees currently displaced from their homes,’ says Bjarke Ingels.

For this adaptive use project, BIG transformed and extended one of the camp’s few remaining structures – a hospital building – into a 1,600 sqm museum.


image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

a curved connection

The former hospital in Oksbøl is comprised of two long buildings. BIG has connected the two architecturally and historically buildings by adding a soft curve-shaped volume which brings 500 sqm of additional space to the museum and creates a welcoming structure, visible from afar.

The curve is gently pulled towards the street to create an inviting arrival moment for the museum visitors. Clad in Corten steel, the structure feels at home along the red bricks of the former hospital buildings. From outside, the abstract volume welcomes visitors into what appears to be a closed entry hall. Upon entering, a floor-to-ceiling curved glass wall reveals a view of a sheltered green courtyard and the forest, where the refugee camp used to be. The courtyard lets light flow into the entry hall that functions as a lobby or a temporary exhibition space for guests to experience before continuing their journey into one of the museum wings.

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark
image by Danyu Zeng

Bjarke Ingels continues, ‘We have designed an architectural framework that connects the past with the present – ​​with a new building directly shaped by its relationship to the historic hospital buildings of the WWII refugee camp.

The architect adds, ‘We went into this project with all our heart to address one of the world’s greatest challenges – how we welcome and care for our fellow world citizens when they are forced to flee. The project is a continuation of our collaboration on Tirpitz museum with Vardemuseerne and Claus Kjeld Jensen whose uncompromised design vision once again inspired our design for FLUGT.’

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark
image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

the program

The exhibition area in the north wing contains gallery spaces organized according to the original flow/circulation in the hospital. While most of the hospital room walls were torn down, some of the inside walls are kept intact and stabilized by three cross sections, creating larger exhibition spaces. The south wing features a flexible conference room, smaller exhibition spaces, a cafe, and back-of-house functions with the same character and materiality as in the north wing: white walls and intersections covered in white painted wood boards oriented according to the angle ceiling line, as well as yellow bricks across the entire museum floor, connecting past and present structures.

The courtyard designed by BIG Landscape creates a peaceful sensory experience inside the museum as well as outside. A small mirror pool in the heart of the courtyard reflects the sky above it. Around the basin, heath planting known from the region emphasizes the identity of the area. Visitors leave the museum having experienced a part of an important place in Danish history, with a new perspective on the refugee experience.

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark
image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

preserving history and architecture

In addition to preserving and reusing the hospital buildings for historical value, extending the lifespan of the existing structures supports BIG’s mission of reducing waste, conserving resources, and creating a smaller carbon footprint as it relates to materials manufacturing and transport.

‘From the very beginning of the design process, it was vital for us and our client Vardemuseerne to preserve the two hospital buildings,’ explains BIG Project Leader, Frederik Lyng. ‘The buildings are some of the last remaining physicals of the former refugee camp, and not only is their preservation invaluable for future generations to understand the past and the present, the buildings also directly informed our design of the extension by means of their unique elongated form, structure and materiality. FLUGT is a great example of how adaptive reuse can result in sustainable, functional buildings that preserve our shared history while standing out architecturally.’

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark
image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

FLUGT is BIG’s second museum for Vardemuseerne: a local institution dedicated to archaeology, dissemination, and collection of historical knowledge about the region. The project was realized by Bjarke Ingels Group in close collaboration with engineers, Ingeniør’ne and exhibition designers, Tinker Imagineers.

The Museum Director Claus Kjeld Jensen comments, ‘FLUGT – Refugee Museum of Denmark will share and uncover the stories of the largest refugee camp in Denmark as well as the story of the lived refugee experience of our time. FLUGT seeks to give a voice and a face to humans who have been forced to their homes and capture the universal flee challenges, emotions and nuances shared by refugees then and today.’

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark
image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark
image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark
image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

project info:

name: FLUGT – Refugee Museum of Denmark
program: culture

location: Oksbol, Denmark

client: Vardemuseerne

architecture: Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG

collaborators: Johansson & Kalstrup, Tinker Imagineers, BIG Landscape

size: 1,600 sqm

status: completed

project team:

partners-in-charge: Bjarke Ingels, Ole Elkjær-Larsen, Finn Nørkjær
project leader: Frederik Lyng
project architect: Frederik Skou Jensen
BIG team: Ákos Márk Horváth, Anders Holden Deleuran, Andy Coward, Anne Søby Nielsen, Cheng-Huang Lin, Danyu Zeng, David Zahle, Eddie Chiu Fai Can, Gabrielé Ubareviciute, Hanne Halvorsen, Høgni Laksafoss, Laura Wätte Kim, Katurine Juul, Lone Fenger Albrechtsen, Lukas Molter, Mads Primdahl Rokkjær, Marius Tromholt-Richter, Michael James Kepke, Muhammad Mansoor-Awais, Nanna Gyldholm Møller, Nikolaos Romanos Tsokas, Oliver Siekierka, Peter Mortensen, Sa Richard Garthkom Sofi, Raskom Howthis, Banke, Thor Larsen-Lechuga, Tomas Karl Ramstrand, Toni Mateu, Tristan Robert Harvey
BIG landscape: Anne Katrine Sandstrøm, Barbora Hrmova, Giulia Frittoli, Jonathan Udemezue, Kristian Mousten, Ulla Hornsyld

photography: Rasmus Hjortshøj, Danyu Zeng

1/18

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

image by Rasmus Hjortshøj

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark

BIG adds a curved corten steel volume to new refugee museum of denmark

Leave a Comment