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Light enters the bunker


A bleak and murky building, Tirpitz, an old bunker built by the Nazi regime during the 2nd World War as part of the Atlantic Wall project (a defensive system that sought to prevent the Allied invasion of Nazi-controlled territory) is now part of an interesting museum complex in the town of Blåvand. The original volume, a compact concrete fortress that was never completed, has been enlarged by a new construction with very different shapes and characteristics, designed by the Danish architecture team BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group).

The renovation of the fortress, which had already been hosting museum functions for years, was inaugurated on 29 June 2017 by Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. According to the supervising architect, Bjarke Ingels, “the TIRPITZ architecture is the very antithesis of the 2nd-World-War bunker”. In truth, while the old concrete mass dominates the landscape and transmits feelings and ideas of heaviness, darkness, disquiet, unease and impenetrability, the new building, in contrast, is light, open and luminous. Playing with the topography and sliding underground, it seeks to go unnoticed while absorbing light through a large central courtyard and four long incisions. These entrance extensions connect with the external paths and separate the spaces of the Blåvand culture complex, three museums and a temporary exhibitions room. This allows the museums to operate independently, although thanks to their respective entrances, which are shaped by oscillating walls, relationships between the parts can also be furthered.

Viewed from the interior rooms, the sloping slabs of exposed concrete appear to have floated above the glass curtains that open up the spaces to the central courtyard. This means that once the visitors enter the interior through the long cracks, they are returned to the landscape. The general impression is of a force rising from the subsoil that opens up the terrain next to the bunker, causing the effect of an origami gesture. The surroundings of the centre, which projects an eye-catching ground plan, have been furnished with elements recovered from the old fortress. The historic building, moreover, has been left as a testimony and reminder of what should never have happened.


Tirpitz vej, 1
6857 Blåvand. Denmark

T/ +45 75 220 877



Kløverbladsgade, 56
2500 Valby, Copenhagen. Denmark

T/ +45 72 217 227

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