Design competition win for Hammershus Castle visitor centre

Hammershus - Copyright Arkitema architects

02/12/2013 Written by: Stacey Carter

BuroHappold has won the competition to design the new visitor centre for Hammershus, one of Denmark’s most important and ancient monuments. 

BuroHappold, in partnership with architects Arkitema and Professor Christoffer Harlang, was chosen from 53 design entries, to deliver a 45 million kroner visitor centre which will include an exhibition room, a café, and educational rooms to cater for approximately half a million visitors each year. The visitor centre is part of a wider project to renovate the historic castle and it’s environment.

Hammershus is northern Europe’s largest medieval castle situated 74 metres above sea level on Hammerren, the northern tip of the Danish coastline. The 13th century castle once provided a base for the Danish crusades.

The materials used to construct the new visitor centre will be timber and concrete taken from the surroundings. The concrete will consist of rock granulate from the cliff which will need to be quarried in order to make room for the building.

The visitor centre will be integrated into the landscape and thus avoid taking attention away from the castle and the unique natural environment. The roof will form part of the terrain and continue the public footpaths, which will provide a stunning view of the castle.

A low maintenance, low energy approach has been utilised when considering the indoor climate systems of the centre.

Jo Gamwell, BuroHappold’s project leader, says “The centre is used only during the summer months and is operated by volunteers rather than facility managers so it was important to provide simple systems which catered to the needs of individual visitors and larger school groups in summer weather.”

The visitor centre will be opened in the spring of 2016. 

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