Snøhetta. Himmelhaven


Snøhetta designs extension to Ordrupgaard
Within the coming years, Ordrupgaard wishes to expand with an underground extension designed by top Norwegian architects Snøhetta. The plans for the building, the Himmelhaven, which will secure the preservation of the museum’s precious French collection for future generations, will be displayed in connection with the museum’s summer exhibition.

It all began in 1918 as a private villa, designed by Gotfred Tvede. Later, Ordrupgaard became a state-owned art museum, with an extension for special exhibitions designed by the world-famous architect Zaha Hadid. Now, Ordrupgaard wishes to take the next step: an extension for the collection of French paintings, designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta.


In 2012, Ordrupgaard launched a design competition for an extension to house its valuable French art collection – a collection which includes paintings by such masters as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The aim was to provide optimum conditions for the art, so that the works, including the delicate pastels, could both be preserved for posterity and be brought up from the storerooms and displayed to the benefit of the public here and now. The winning proposal, a partially underground extension to the museum measuring approximately 1,600 m², was designed by the Norwegian architects Snøhetta, who called the building Himmelhaven, ‘Heavenly Garden’. The name refers to the penchant of the French impressionists for plein air painting, and their ambition to capture the light on the canvas.

Himmelhaven will be located on the north side of the existing building complex, under the current gravel area, and will thereby greet the public on arrival at the museum. It will be carefully recessed into the landscape, so as not to draw attention from the other buildings and the surrounding park. The remarks of the unanimous judges’ panel included the following:

“With its proposal, Snøhetta shows exemplary empathy with the spirit of the programme, and a great deal of respect for the architecture of both Zaha Hadid and Tvede.”

First Snøhetta project on Danish soil
Founded in 1987, Snøhetta is an architectural firm that enjoys international recognition. The practice has made its mark with numerous innovative building projects, including the Oslo Opera House, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria and the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York, but Himmelhaven will be Snøhetta’s first building on Danish soil.

Ordrupgaard hopes to realise the building within the next few years, and will be presenting Snøhetta’s proposals, along with the museum’s building history, from 22 May to 9 August in connection with the exhibition Passion for Impressionism. Wilhelm Hansen’s Ordrupgaard.

You want to know more about Snøhetta? Visit The Danish Architecture Centre and the exhibition Snøhetta – World Architecture June 19 – September 27.

The exhibition is supported by

knud højgaard

22 May - 9 August

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