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Tirpitz – a hidden museum on the Danish coast
Sometimes, even the biggest symbol of past hard times can be turned into something beautiful. The latest example is the Tirpitz museum, built in place of the German WWII bunker.
Located in Blåvand on the west coast of Denmark, where the Nazi stronghold was once situated, now proudly stands the contemporary museum. The museum seems like a sanctuary in the sand, a gentle counterbalance to the dramatic war history of the site.
Upon arrival, the visitors will first see the bunker and as they approach, see the fine cuts and paths leading towards the center of the museum complex. The bunker remains the only landmark of a not so distant dark heritage that upon close inspection marks the entrance to a new cultural meeting place.
The architecture of the TIRPITZ is the antithesis to the WWII bunker. Contrary to the hefty and intrusive regelbau construction of the original artillery fortress – simply designed as an immense concrete block – the new TIRPITZ finely cuts into the dune and camouflages with the landscape. The building consists of four main materials and elements which are also found in the existing structures and natural landscape of the area – concrete, steel, glass and wood.
The central courtyard allows access into the four underground gallery spaces that have an abundance of daylight even though they are literally carved into the sand. The galleries are integrated into the dunes like an open oasis in the sand – a sharp contrast to the Nazi fortress’ concrete monolith. The surrounding heath-lined pathways cut into the dunes from all sides descending to meet in a central clearing, bringing daylight and air into the heart of the complex.
While creating the Tirpitz museum, the main goal was to create a humble, world-class attraction that surprises its visitors with new perspectives on the majestic landscape. The museum is that and much more - an incredible, one-of-a-kind experience – violent, astonishing, dramatic, hidden – almost invisible.
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