With a completely re-conceptualized conversion and extension, the Wadden Sea Centre – gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site – has recently been opened to the public in Ribe on the west coast of Denmark. At the new Wadden Sea Centre, internationally renowned Danish architecture firm Dorte Mandrup has set a new standard for combining the local building culture and history of the area with an ultramodern, sculptural architectural appearance.
Even at first glance the Wadden Sea Centre gives the impression of a building that has emerged from the ground, drawing a soft, long and clear profile against the Wadden Sea’s infinite horizon. With a thatched roof and facades, the Wadden Sea Centre provides the area’s many visitors with a humble yet significant starting point for their visit. Dorte Mandrup has created a modern building in perfect harmony with the Wadden Sea’s nature and history.
Local building culture
Mandrup emphasizes that it has been an important aspect of the project to understand and build on the local building tradition of four-winged thatched farmhouses. Through the extensive conversion the original three-winged exhibition building has been extended to four wings providing shelter in the open landscape. The building materials are largely local and absorb the salt in the Wadden Sea air as is historically the tradition for buildings in the region.
“The main concept of the architecture is a new sculptural interpretation of the existing building culture of the region. It has been our ambition to build a project that points towards the future and has its roots in the local building tradition and history. Thus we aim to bring the architecture of the Wadden Sea into the 21st Century”, Dorte Mandrup says. Source and photos, Courtesy of Dorte Mandrup architect.