Hammershus Visitor Centre

by | 23. Apr 2018

Cultural | Landscape | Project
The centre places itself into the rock landscape. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

The centre places itself into the rock landscape. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

The new Hammershus Visitor Centre, designed by Arkitema Architects and Christoffer Harlang, is situated on the small Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic sea, known for its rocky landscape. Hammershus Castle Ruin has for decades been the islands largest tourist attraction. The ruin is located on the northern part of the island on top of the cliffs next to a deep valley and a dense, protected forest. It has been an important part of the project to respect Bornholm’s natural surroundings.

Hammershus, Northern Europe’s largest castle ruin. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Hammershus, Northern Europe’s largest castle ruin. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

The centre’s design is inspired by the world-famous architect Jørn Utzon, who in 1969 sketched his vision of how a new visitor centre could be moulded into the landscape. With its jagged, horizontal shape, the new building places itself gently into the cliffs facing Hammershus, as a discreet imprint in the landscape. A light footbridge runs from the front of the centre and connects it to the castle ruin, built on pillars to protect the existing valley.

Light footbridge, connecting the visitor centre to the castle ruin across the valley. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Light footbridge, connecting the visitor centre to the castle ruin across the valley. Arkitema Architects &Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

As visitors approach Hammershus, the centre is not visible. Instead of distracting the view of the main attraction, the building extends into a roof, as a natural continuation of the rock landscape, which lets visitors enjoy a panoramic view of the castle. Only later along the path, the centre reveals itself and invites people inside, while the footbridge from the terrace leads one further towards the castle with new viewpoints across the valley. Thus, the visitor centre becomes part of a scenic path system with experiences and views along the way, while the building itself stays humbly in the background.

Patch to rooftop. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Patch to rooftop. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Access to rooftop. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Access to rooftop. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Constructed of glulam columns and beams, the building’s floor, outer and inner walls are made from in-situ cast raw concrete. Local timber from Bornholm is used for the roof, footbridge, interior planks, and special fittings, such as furniture, cupboards, and a bar counter. While the rawness of the concrete makes the building blend into the rough background, the wooden interior creates a warm contrast to the rock surface. The roof lets light inside from both sides and gives the impression of a bright, open interior space.

Concrete walls and wooden interior and roof. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Concrete walls and wooden interior and roof. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Exhibition space. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Exhibition space. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

The visitor centre is open to the public and visitors of Hammershus all throughout the year. Inside, the building opens up into spacious facilities, including a shop, café, a kitchen, restrooms, a classroom and exhibition spaces, unfolding the 900-year history of the castle. All service functions are placed in the darker back of the building, while the side facing Hammershus opens up into large windows with black aluminium profiles to frame the grand view of both castle and the sea.

View towards restrooms and exhibition space. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

View towards restrooms and exhibition space. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

View towards visitor centre shop. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

View towards visitor centre shop. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Folding doors extend out towards a deck. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Folding doors extend out towards a deck. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

With its careful placement in the existing surroundings and warm, spacious interior, Hammershus Visitor Centre becomes an inviting, cultural imprint in the landscape.

Custom built oak furnishings in shop area. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Custom built oak furnishings in shop area. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Exterior view of Hammershus Visitor Centre. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Exterior view of Hammershus Visitor Centre. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Exterior view of Hammershus Visitor Centre. Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Exterior view of Hammershus Visitor Centre. Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Situation plan 1:2000. Image © Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang.

Situation plan 1:2000. Image © Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang.

Plan 1:200. Image © Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang.

Plan 1:200. Image © Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang.

Section 1:200. Image © Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang.

Section 1:200. Image © Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang.

Elevation North. Image © Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang.

Elevation North. Image © Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang.

Elevation South. Image © Arkitema Architects/Christoffer Harlang.

Elevation South. Image © Arkitema Architects & Christoffer Harlang.

INFORMATION

CITYBornholm
COUNTRYDenmark
CONSTRUCTION YEAR2018
SIZE1,400 sq.m
ARCHITECTArkitema Architects
Christoffer Harland

CLIENT

CONTRACTOR