Copenhagen Gallery


The Ordrupgaard extension was designed by the British-Iraqi starchitect, Zaha Hadid. With a strong sense of place and of the existing Ordrupgaard, she created an extension, which enters a highly successful dialogue with its surroundings.

Extensions have a notorious tendency to divide camps and make tempers boil. The concept is complicated, because any extension must respect the "mother building", and create an addition without obliterating the existing one. In her extension to the Ordrupgaard art museum, Zaha Hadid walks an elegant tightrope between too much and too little. The experience of space is the main point of the extension, which is both in harmony with, and in contrast to the old stately home, which used single-handedly to house Ordrupgaard's collection of French Impressionist and Danish Golden Age art. The extension has doubled Ordrupgaard's space, which now totals more than 3,300 m², creating room for new exhibition facilities, a multi-purpose hall, a foyer and a café.

Architecture based on its surroundings

For more than 20 years, Zaha Hadid has challenged architecture and modernist dogma in her quest for new approaches to architecture. Her buildings are always in contact with the actual site, and the new Ordrupgaard extension is no exception. "Even though Zaha Hadid's extension has a markedly different contemporary expression, when compared to the original stately home, she has managed to empathise with the special spirit, which characterises the place and, in a brilliant way, transposed it to the present day. Despite the new extension, Ordrupgaard retains its basic character," said Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark (Director of Ordrupgaard) in a press release.

Zaha Hadid decoded and interpreted the surroundings and used the results as the basis for her design of the extension. Therefore, we can see traces of the setting throughout the building. For example, certain features of the grounds are reflected in the building's sloping floors, which give a feeling of walking up and down a hill, just as one would in the surrounding landscape.

Slanting walls challenge architecture's primary angles

The extension provides the setting for an experience of art, but it is also a spatial experience in itself. The building challenges the concept of horizontal and vertical as architecture's primary angles. No two of the oblique, curved walls are the same.

In soft, fluid motion the extension partners the old Ordrupgaard and communicates an elegant transition between the surrounding landscape and the architecture. The large glass façades draw light and nature right into the building. Meanwhile the building was cast in black lava concrete. The tactile black colour seems almost alive in its interplay of colours, sometimes matt grey and sometimes glossy black, depending on the light and the time of day.

The starchitect Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid is known for her advanced and innovative projects, rooted in a perception of space and form as movement and progression. The Ordrupgaard extension is a prime example of this. In 2004 she received the Pritzker Prize, the highest accolade in the world of international architecture. At the time, one of the jury members characterised Zaha Hadid. "Zaha Hadid is one of the most gifted practitioners of architecture today. From the earliest sketches and models to the completed buildings, she has an original and strong personal vision, which transforms the way in which we perceive and experience space. Hadid's fragmented geometry and fluid mobility do more than create an abstract dynamic beauty. Hers is a body of work, which expresses the world we live in."


Experience the exhibition Zaha Hadid - World Architecture at the Danish Architecture Centre 29 June - 29 September 2013.



Tuesday, January 01, 2008 / By Ida

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014