Is it possible to make an extensive restoration of a listed building without destroying the original architecture? This is the tough challenge facing a Danish art museum, which was designed by the world-famous architect, Alvar Aalto.
KUNSTEN, Museum of Modern Art houses a unique collection of contemporary art by Danish and foreign artists. But it is not only the collection that is unique; so is the building. It is the only museum outside of Finland to be designed by the world-renowned architect, Alvar Aalto.
In 1957 he conceived the design of the museum in collaboration with Elissa Aalto and Jean-Jacques Baruël. The result was an art museum which is a work of art in itself. The building was designed in a light, organic, modernist style with an entirely unique distinctive inflow of light. Throughout the building, the choice of materials is unique: ranging from the custom-designed copper Aalto lights to the marble on the floors and outer walls.
Today, this museum building is listed. So it is no wonder that the building??s imminent and radical restoration and modernisation have caused quite a stir.
??The renovation will be carried out by Erik Møller Arkitekter, whose previous renovation projects include such famous Danish buildings as the Royal Danish Theatre and Amalienborg, the principal residence of the Danish monarch. The architects?? mission is to create a modern, highly efficient museum within the existing framework.
Trine Neble of Erik Møller Arkitekter, commented, ?We want to maintain Aalto and Baruël??s architectural vision for the building, both inside and out. That means that all surfaces and details will be retained or recycled, wherever possible. On one hand, it is cheaper and more sustainable to reuse existing resources. On the other hand, the minimal extension will leave the listed building as it was originally conceived”.
The DKK 130 million project will be closely scrutinised by the Danish Agency for Culture, who are responsible for the protection of the building: Jesper Dahl, Head of Department at the Danish Agency for Culture, said, ?In both cultural-historical and architectural terms, KUNSTEN in Aalborg is a very special building. It is an exceptional Danish testimony to Alvar Aalto??s masterful treatment of space, form, light and materials for a solid-cast modernist structure. So, it is a major and exciting challenge for the Danish Agency for Culture to be involved in updating the museum??s facilities while, at the same time, protecting its overall listed values, including preservation of its characteristic details and use of space”.
??In addition to the extensive restoration of the building, a 600-m² exhibition space will be created in the museum??s basement. The construction work also involves new facilities for children and a variety of building improvements, all of which will benefit the museum??s visitors. The architecture practice, Transform are in charge of the newly-constructed elements in the building together with Erik Møller Arkitekter.
This extensive construction work began on 1st June, when the museum building closed to the public. While construction work is in progress, the museum will move to the city and travel around the country. KUNSTEN will also create a variety of ?pop-up?? exhibitions and events at various sites in Aalborg.
While the building is closed, KUNSTEN will be based at Aalborg Railway Station with a space for events and exhibitions in a former ticket office in the beautiful building.
The museum is expected to reopen in autumn 2015.