Copenhagen Gallery

The Museum Garden at The National Gallery of Denmark (SMK)

The National Gallery of Denmark has acquired a new garden. The old ornate Baroque garden has been transformed into a new open landscape, inviting museum visitors and passers-by to meet up and enjoy an art break.

Gone are the sharply trimmed hedges and straight paths of the old Baroque garden. So are the tall hedges, which shielded the garden from the street life on Sølvgade and Østre Voldgade. Instead, the National Gallery of Denmark's museum garden has been remodelled into an open, living, breathing space, where people can hang out and enjoy art. "Today, soft grassy islands and winding paths welcome visitors to a garden, which is open around the clock. There is space for art to flow out of the museum and down into the garden, which will act as a crucible for art and urban life," explains Thomas Kock, one of Polyform's partners.

The National Gallery Returns To The Park

"The National Gallery Returns To The Park" was the title of POLYFORM and Karres en Brand's winning proposal in the architecture competition. "The Park" refers to the Østre Anlæg, which fans out behind the National Gallery of Denmark or, more accurately, around the museum. The title really emphasises the project's main concept: a continuation of Østre Anlæg's green appearance with hillocks, winding paths and large tree crowns all the way round the National Gallery of Denmark, making the museum part of the park. "It's not just museum visitors, who will have new, easy access to the world of art. All users of the city will acquire a new, green public space, where they can meet each other and take part in artistic, and other kinds of events," says Thomas Kock.

Art grazing

Amongst the green hillocks, paths and trees, a reflecting pool will be the central element of the new garden. While serving as a calm reflecting pool or vibrant fountain, the pool can also be drained of water and used as a stage for concerts or as an exhibition space. One of the ideas behind the new Museum Garden is to draw art out of the museum and into the public space. It will be a place for visitors to encounter art in a completely different context from that of a museum - and on a completely different scale. Because the garden will make it possible to exhibit XXXL-size art. This means that the new park, both directly and indirectly, will help to bridge the gap between art institution and public space.

The city invited into the garden

Unlike the old Baroque-style garden, the new Museum Garden opens up fully to Øster Voldgade and Sølvgade, providing curious onlookers with direct access to the gravel paths of the Garden, from which they can proceed to the museum. The hope is to invite passers-by into the Garden and inspire impulsive visits to the museum or a spontaneous, pleasant moment in the Garden. The museum has acquired a new entrance area and new steps, which will encourage people to plonk themselves down, read a book, drink a cup of coffee or merely enjoy the view of the garden and the city.

A museum district in the heart of Copenhagen

The new Museum Garden is also part of a larger ambition to create coherence and connection between the Park Museums: the Hirschsprung; the David Collection; the Natural History Museum of Denmark; the Botanical Gardens; Rosenborg Castle; the Cinemateque and, of course, the National Gallery of Denmark. The inspiration comes from museum districts such as Berlin's Museumsinsel and Museum Mile in New York, where several museums have been consolidated within a manageable radius. The new Museum Garden will make it easier to move from one park to another and from one museum to the next.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014 / By Ida Oline Frandsen

Last updated Wednesday, November 26, 2014