The shore of Blåvand on Denmark's west coast has been transformed by TIRPITZ, a museum unlike any other. Measuring an impressive 2,800 square meters and orchestrated through the collaborative efforts of Varde Museums, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and Tinker Imagineers, TIRPIZ offers visitors to partake in an experience. Expanding off of an existing, monolithic German WWII bunker, the complex of the new museum is comprised of four exhibition spaces that seemingly rise, almost invisibly and definitely unobtrusively, directly from the sandy beach.
The concrete bunker is the first thing that greets visitors. But as they approach, the heaviness of the structure dissipates and is replaced by a gentle interplay between the natural landscape and the "fine cuts and paths" which lead towards a central courtyard. In turn, this acts as the access point to the four underground gallery spaces below the reed covered sand dunes.
The four main elements used in TIRPITZ's construction - concrete, steel, wood and glass - are simple and repeated throughout, all seamlessly blending into the surrounding beach. Impressively, the main part of the structures is actually underground, which means that the Swiss engineers, Lüchinger+Meyer, had to make sure they were strong enough to carry the landscape, i.e. all that sand. To note: the largest roof deck weighs in at 1,090 tons! Another structural coup is the fact that, although underground, all four of the exhibition spaces are flooded by natural sunlight thanks to their large glass panels which face the outdoor courtyard.
The four exhibitions - Army of Concrete, Gold of the West Coast, West Coast Stories, and the bunker itself - are all different in theme and yet, just like the structure and its landscape, work together. How else can the "enchanting steel forest" displaying Western Europe's most comprehensive exhibition of amber (Gold of the West Coast) exist beside "the tale of an impressive war machine." After all, nature and the world's human interventions - both the positive and the negative - go hand in hand.
Erik Bär, the founding partner of Tinker Imagineers who orchestrated the exhibitions, describes visiting TIRPITZ as: "Not a visit to an exhibition gallery, but a scenic journey through the time and space of West Jutland. The idea is that the whole place itself comes to life following the rhythms of nature.” It is certainly a one of a kind experience made all the more so by the inconspicuous and yet impressive structure that has made itself at home on the once tumultuous Danish shore.