A museum for the life and work of Hans Christian Anderson


The House of Fairytales

Client
Private
Year
2013
Status
Competition
Location
Denmark

Design a museum for the life and work of Hans Christian Anderson. The design had to respect and include existing buildings on site, including the former home of the author

Once upon a time, there was a house, the house in the fairy tale garden …

With this design, we used the form of a simple house, much like one a young reader might draw, and allowed it to journey through this historical site, stopping at points of special significance, leading the visitor through this fairy tale world.

The shape of the house is replicated within the structural frame of the main building.  At moments it is (magically) stretched, moving the visitor to the heart of the site.

As the visitor arrives at the historical centre of the site, the pitched roof flattens and forms a sympathetic glazed roof, encapsulating the Memorial Hall.  It also provides a link from the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson with the preserved town houses.

The ‘house of fairy tales’ is a motif that appears at building entry points and signals points of interest in the landscaped areas, for example, a reinstated apothecary garden, the fairy tale sculpture garden and a secret sunken garden.

On entering the museum, the visitor is greeted by a double height reception space, which renders even the tallest of adults to the size of a child. Here and throughout the museum, the visitor will find patterned carved screens, inspired by Anderson’s paper cut-outs.

Each tells a different story, through sculpted characters and engraved texts, leading the visitor deeper into the life, work and world of Hans Christian Anderson, passing through sensory experience rooms before discovering the secret garden and beyond.