The House of Fairytales
Hans Christian Andersen Museum International Competition 2014
Site: 8.900m2. Odense, Denmark
Client: Odense Municipality
In colaboration with: Eduard Balcells, Balbina Mateo, Andrés Lupiáñez, Eberhard Schmidl, Inma Subias, Joan Gallego
Hans Christian Andersen was born in a charming neighborhood in the historic center of Odense, where his birth house is still preserved. Attached to it, and partly surrounding a public garden, a museum and a cultural center currently present the author’s life and work. The challenging assignment calls for a substantial enlargement of both garden and museum, but on the very same location they now occupy. Our answer is to cover the whole site with a large Fairytale Garden, and to put under it most of the new museum: the House of Fairytales.
The Fairytale Garden, with its forest, its pond, and its paper cut shaped flower beds, is inspired by Andersen’s fantasy world, while the medicinal plants and trees to be used are drawn from the memory of the site, where an old apothecary garden once stood. Interplaying with the physical garden, a virtual layer, accessible through all smart mobile electronic devices, offers an additional gateway to Andersen’s imaginary world, and to the history and present of the site.
Paper cutting, one of Andersen’s favorite art forms, provides the strategy through which the House of Fairytales and the Fairytale Garden are brought into a symbiotic relation: the ground is cut and molded, and, through the biggest cut, the garden lets us in. Here we find the entrance foyer, the café, and the shop, all broadly opening towards the garden. From the foyer, through a huge light shaft, we take a slide down into the Fairytales World. There, through an immersive, state-of-the-art and didactic experience, we discover the most famous fairytales, and, from them, we learn about their author’s life and work.A big lift takes us up then, and we enter the Treasure World, where we can get to know Andersen closer, visit his birth house and interactively discover the jewels of his literature and artworks.
Together, the House of Fairytales and the Fairytale Garden take us on a wonderful journey into the fantastic and profound universe of Hans Christian Andersen’s imagination.
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