BIG completes subterranean Danish National Maritime Museum


October 28, 2013

The museum is sunk into a former dry dock, and located adjacent to the historical Kronborg castle (Photo: BIG)

The museum is sunk into a former dry dock, and located adjacent to the historical Kronborg castle (Photo: BIG)

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Denmark-based architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) recently completed work on the new Danish National Maritime Museum. The museum is placed within a large pre-existing dry dock, and thus doesn’t unduly disrupt the local area – an important concern given its location adjacent to the historical Kronborg castle, as immortalized in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Measuring a total of 6,500 sq m (70,000 sq ft), the Danish National Maritime Museum takes up the entirety of the former dry dock, and is sunk a total of 7 m (23 ft) into the ground. The dock’s 60 year-old walls were left untouched, and BIG installed three double-level bridges, in addition to several sloping areas, to make navigating the interior easier.

The museum features exhibition spaces dedicated to charting Denmark’s long seafaring history, looping around the dry dock’s walls. In addition, an auditorium, classroom, offices, a cafe, and an extensive library and archives section are also found inside.

BIG isn’t typically known for showing restraint in its larger-than-life projects, but to this author’s mind the Danish National Maritime Museum’s muscular mix of industrial and modern styling, combined with its novel construction, is familiar, but by no means vulgar.

Source: BIG via Arch Daily

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

It seems like the museum is more about architectural "wow" than maritime exhibits. Perhaps it's just the article that's fixating on the "wow".


It's not quite clear from the article, but if it is the type of dock that is dug into the ground next to the ocean it is a graving dock as opposed to a floating dry dock. Both are sometimes referred to as dry-docks, but more correctly, it's a graving dock.

Bruce Sherman
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