Lonely Planet Writer

Star Japanese architect wins competition to design new Hans Christian Andersen museum in Denmark

Renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has won a competition to redesign the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense in Denmark.

The proposed Hans Christian Anderson museum in Odense, Denmark.
The proposed Hans Christian Anderson museum in Odense, Denmark. Image by Kengo Kuma and Associates

Kuma’s firm collaborated with Danish companies Cornelius+Vöge Architects, the MASU Planning Landscape Architects and Eduard Troelsgård Engineers to create the winning proposal, which aims to bring the beloved Danish author’s magical fairy tales to life. Born in Odense in 1805, Andersen’s most famous children’s stories include The Little Mermaid and The Emperor’s New Clothes.

The museum will
The museum will carry a fairytale theme. Image by Kengo Kuma and Associates

Computer-generated renderings of the architects’ plans for the project show the museum’s buildings nestled within an elaborate garden complete with curvy hedges reminiscent of a maze. Meanwhile a hidden underground garden and unique exhibition space add to the sense of magic and enchantment across the museum’s new 9000-square-metre footprint.

Computer images show an elaborate garden complete with curvy hedges reminiscent of a maze.
Computer images show an elaborate garden complete with curvy hedges reminiscent of a maze. Image by Kengo Kuma and Associates

The site of the existing Hans Christian Andersen Museum will be expanded dramatically to accommodate the design, which will also bring the Tinderbox Cultural Centre for Children into the same complex.

Odense Municipality’s press release announcing the plans quoted the city’s mayor, Anker Boye, as saying, “The proposal has a unique quality that captures the spirit of both Hans Christian Andersen and Odense, has striking international calibre and is locally embedded at the same time.”

The project is due to open in 2020.
The project is due to open in 2020. Image by Kengo Kuma and Associates

Funding has yet to be secured for the project, though city officials are hopeful that this will be obtained by the end of this year, enabling the museum to open on schedule in 2020. The timeline means that, all going well, Kuma will see his vision for the Hans Christian Andersen come to fruition in the same year as his design for the Olympic stadium in Tokyo.