Kengo Kuma wins competition to design the H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales

H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales
H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales
Image © Kengo Kuma & Associates

Kengo Kuma & Associates won the 1st prize for the international competition to design the H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales in Odense in collaboration with Cornelius+Vöge Aps (Associate Architects), MASU Planning (Landscape Architects) and Eduard Troelsgård Engineers.

H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales
Image © Kengo Kuma & Associates

The City of Odense revealed the plans for the future Hans Christian Andersen’s Kengo Kuma won the competition in a field of prominent international firms such as Barozzi Veiga and Snøhetta, and not least Denmark’s BIG Architects (Bjarke Ingels Group), all of whom were in the running up until the end. The proposal of Kengo Kuma and his Danish partners caught the imagination of Odense’s mayor Anker Boye, who was also the jury chairman for the competition.

H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales
Image © Kengo Kuma & Associates

The fact that Kengo Kuma is from Japan only goes to show that sometimes you have to travel abroad to find home. The proposal has a unique quality that captures the spirit of both Hans Christian Andersen and Odense, has striking international calibre and is locally embedded at the same time.

H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales
Image © Kengo Kuma & Associates

It is a project that I can only imagine taking place here in Odense. But at the same time, it points far beyond anything local or national. It is internationally “Odensean”. The project features prominently in the sweeping changes to the city centre currently taking place in Odense based on closing off the main thoroughfare Thomas B. Thriges Gade.

H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales
Image © Kengo Kuma & Associates

The street previously transected the city and is now part of the project area’s 9,000 square metres, which includes, in addition to the area around the existing Hans Christian Andersen Museum, The Tinderbox Cultural Centre for Children and Lotzes Have park.

H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales
Image © Kengo Kuma & Associates

Based on the writer’s world of fairy tales and accompanying enchanting gardens, the project combines the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and the Tinderbox Cultural Centre for Children in one and the same dramatically enlarged attraction. The building itself will have a floor space of 5,600 square metres, two-thirds of which will be established underground to create a magical garden space that is as big as possible in the centre of Odense.

H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales
Image © Kengo Kuma & Associates

In planning the project, it was important to us that gardens, building and exhibition design were envisaged as an interconnected whole that clearly captures the spirit of Andersen and brings out the essence of the City of Odense at the same time. This is another reason why it is brilliant to have found such a well-integrated and well-designed project that is both ingenious and magical.

H.C. Andersen’s House of Fairy Tales
Image © Kengo Kuma & Associates

Kengo Kuma and the Danish partners Cornelius+Vöge and MASU Planning have created the perfect setting for the future presentation of Hans Christian Andersen where we need a keener focus on his enchanting universe than on his personal life. The announcement of the winning project also concludes the combined competition process. This means that fund-raising efforts can now enter the final phase. The project funding is expected to be in place during 2016. Source by Odense City Museum.

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