Shjworks creates Cave-like Timber Shelter in Danish Museum Park

Place: Dronningmølle, Denmark
Munkeruphus Art Museum
Architectural Design: Simon Hjermind Jensen
Images courtesy of Simon Hjermind Jensen - Shjworks


‘The Observatory’ is a cave-like timber shelter designed by Simon Hjermind Jensen for the Munkeruphus Art Museum in Denmark

Munkeruphus Art Museum, a cultural institution located in the northern part of Zealand in Denmark, has commissioned Simon Hjermind Jensen – Shjworks, to create a small architecture for the museum’s long-term activities within the park.
Simon Hjermind Jensen said: “The outcome is an open structure for everyone to use, with an inside space for social events and activities. The project is called ‘The Observatory‘ to reflect the project’s awareness of the place and the different situations”.
Hjermind Jensen started the design process with a 24-hour stay on the site. He recalls: “I was curious to have a lot of time to sense and experience the site, both in daylight and after nightfall. I enjoyed observing the path of the sun and the moon“.
During his stay, he created a ceramic model of the project and chose a site for it. The model and site he chose, combined with his observations of the sun and the moon, became the basis of the project.
The designer drew his constructional pattern directly on the model and, after 3D scanning the model, he recreated the pattern with parametrical vector lines in the computer. Between these vector lines, he created single curved surfaces which via software he unrolled into flat shells that were fabricated using CNC technology.



 Simon Hjermind Jensen, The Observatory, external views, © Simon Hjermind Jensen

On the site, the shells, made of plywood and polycarbonate, were bent into place and attached to each other with special joinings, inspired by silhouettes of leaves.
The inside of the Observatory is a cave-like space and sacral at the same time. It’s cave-like because of its organic and asymmetrical appearance, sacral because of its light coming from above, and its remarkable acoustic. A wooden bench runs along the walls and can accommodate 25 people, and, in the middle of the earthen floor is molded a podium in concrete that can be used as a stage for a performance or for having a bonfire.
The opening in the top, which is an oculus in architectural terms, leads out the smoke of the bonfire and is tilted towards the south where the sun culminates daily, and where the moon culminates when it is full. And like the characters of our surroundings change and shift from day to night, The Observatory changes too, especially when a bonfire is lit after nightfall: the inside spatial experience changes with the light coming from the ground, and seen from the outside the upper part glows in a pink color created from the light from the flames.
The final structure is very strong and stable thanks to the use of the curved shells.
The strength of this construction technique minimizes the use of materials, indeed the Observatory is 5.7 m tall with only 4-9 mm thick walls.

The project is supported by The Danish Arts Foundation and Knud Højgaards Fond.




Simon Hjermind Jensen, The Observatory, interior views, © Simon Hjermind Jensen



Simon Hjermind Jensen, The Observatory, external view and elevation, © Simon Hjermind Jensen

Images courtesy of Simon Hjermind Jensen – Shjworks

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