New Wing, National History Museum | Kengo Kuma + Erik Møller Arkitekter + JAJA architects


Whale hall

The proposal for the Natural History Museum of Denmark, designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, Erik Møller Arkitekter, and JAJA Architects, focuses on creating a coherent and inseparable experience which mixes the experiences of the conventional museum and the classical garden into a series of remarkable spaces. Its location within the beautiful and historical setting of the city’s botanical garden creates a potential for a museum that is more authentic, more engaging and more open for everyone.

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Break space

A new Natural History Museum in the heart of Copenhagen is a fantastic gift to the city. It should be both the museum in the garden and the garden in the museum. Unlike a conventional museum, where the experience begins inside, it should become a Garden of Natural History – a place where a stroll in the garden invites you into a natural historical journey and, vice versa, a visit inside gives you the experience of the garden.


Exhibition facing north

A visit to The Garden of Natural History is like a “walk in the park” that is neither tiring nor intrusive. We use the garden to create spatial variety within the museum, bringing daylight, vegetation, and views into interior spaces that are perfect for quiet contemplation.


The Natural History Museum of Denmark has one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections documenting the planet’s history. How can we both protect and display the collection? We propose a new museum model that is integrated respectfully within the landscape, opening up to allow glimpses into the museum through a series of cuts in the landscape – glimpses that inspire, invite, and invoke the curiosity of passers-by to venture inside for the full experience. In other words, we bring the collection into the experience of the garden.

Imagine the sight of the world’s only complete blue whale skeleton floating majestically in the garden. Suddenly this magnificent collection of animals becomes more than just a part of the museum – it becomes a part of the city. It becomes a public gesture that truly makes the collection a part of the garden and the museum part of the city – which essentially makes our common Natural History accessible to all members of the public.


Site Plan

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Plan level – 0

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Plan level – 1

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Plan level – 2

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East elevation / North elevation / South elevation

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Diagram_Axo Diagram3 Diagram1


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Architects: Kengo Kuma & Associates, Erik Møller Arkitekter, JAJA Architects
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Kengo Kuma & Associates Team: Principal: Kengo Kuma; Partner: Yuki Ikeguchi; Team: Miguel Huelga de la Fuente, Akira Kindo, Nicola Maniero, Ryuya Umezawa, Kimio Suzuki, Jaime Fernández; Collaborators: Karl Johan Nyqvist, Rodrigo Veláquez, Shinnosuke Takayanagi, Giacomo Sponzilli, Jonas May, Matthew Cho, Chang Kwon Park
Erik Møller Arkitekter Team: Partner: Peder Elgaard; Team: Johanne Donsted, Christian Kusk Nielsen
JAJA Architects Team: Partners: Jan Yoshiyuki Tanaka, Jakob Steen Christensen, Kathrin Susanna Gimmel; Team: Sam De Boever, Ingrid Roalsø
Consultants: Buro Happold: Jo Gamwell, Paul Roberts, Alex Nikolic; Thing & Wainø Landskabsarkitekter: Marie Thin, Uffe Wainø; 2+1 idébureau: Rasmus Rune Nielsen

Bibliography: Furuto, A. (2012). Natural History Museum Proposal / Kengo Kuma & Associates + Erik Møller Arkitekter + JAJA Architects. [online] ArchDaily. Available at: [Accessed 17 Nov. 2014]

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