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CULTURAL BUILDINGS PROJECT REPORT


STRAW POLL


The roof, plus soffit and some sections of walls are clad in straw thatch to reflect local heritage and blend with the landscape


Mandrup says the client gave a “pretty open” brief in terms of the building’s expression when it launched a two-stage design competition. Mandrup’s proposal for an earthy, organic building using local materials which would as a result, “rise up from the landscape.” The client, the City of Esbjerg, backed by some major Danish funding bodies, includ- ing AP Møller and Realdania, wanted to increase the centre’s exhibition and learning spaces by 50 per cent to attract visitors by making a “real exhibition area” as Mandrup puts it. In addition to the competition for the new building, the client ran a parallel competition for the exhibition design itself, won by Danish firm JAC studios.


Building form


In order to reuse some of the existing build- ing where appropriate to maximise funds for the new extension, a partial new build solution was envisaged, “cladding the exist- ing farmhouse with a new farmhouse” as Mandrup puts it. She says: “Part of this project was about being extremely functional, reusing existing areas such as the cafeteria and toilets.” In addition to a substantial new exhibition area, two new learning centres have been created, includ-


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The centre displays the practice’s flair for using natural materials in new and often sculptural ways


ing laboratory-type facilities for analysing the Wadden Sea environment. The new building is more substantial, adding a fourth wing to create a full C- shaped structure with 2,800 m2


of space in


total. It shelters and protects the courtyard and the front elevation much more success- fully than the three previous, somewhat dislocated buildings. The pre-existing education building remains in the court- yard, making a partial ‘fourth wall’, and to the south of it is a new, larger education building connected through to the court- yard by a heat-treated pine boardwalk. The building’s protective feel is crucial in what is a featureless and often very windy landscape, says Mandrup: “It’s an extremely open, very flat, you see the horizon every- where. We wanted this protected outdoor area, but we wanted to somehow change that expression, as this is not a farm.” The front elevation is the most striking, with the angled straw roof the dominant


ADF MAY 2017


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