BIG-designed museum opens at Denmark’s largest wartime

In the mid- to late-1940s, the populace of Oksbøl, a compact city on the North Sea coast of Denmark, swelled considerably—so a great deal so that it rated as the Scandinavian country’s fifth biggest metropolis in the fast several years adhering to Globe War II.

The influx was owing to the existence of the Oksbøl Refugee Camp, a navy coaching floor on the forested edge of town transformed into what was a single just a single of many hundred camps for German refugees fleeing the Crimson Army. During this period, German refugees—mainly gals, young children, and the elderly—made up roughly 5 p.c of the total Danish inhabitants with Oksbøl serving as the largest camp of its variety for the displaced Germans. Of the believed 250,000 civilian Germans who left their homeland next the war, 35,000 of them ended up housed at the camp in December 1948, the sprawling complex was shuttered practically four years immediately after it was first set up.

Central courtyard and reflecting pool at FLUGT, a museum committed to telling tales personalized stories of forced migration. (Rasmus Hjortshøj)

Right now, what continues to be of the aged Oksbøl Refugee Camp has been transformed into a recently opened museum that tells the tale of refugees in Denmark although, more broadly, shedding new light-weight on the plight of individuals throughout the world who have fled prosecution and turmoil in their homelands.

Named FLUGT, the new museum is a project of Vardemuseerne, a West Jutland–based cultural and historic establishment that operates a handful of museums, historic websites, and exhibition areas throughout the location. FLUGT—Danish for “flee”—second museum for the condition-acknowledged organization  to be intended by Bjarke Ingels Team (Major) Vardemuseerne previously tapped Significant for the Tirpitz Museum, a cultural advanced concentrated on the heritage and organic landscape of Denmark’s West Coast. That museum is created into a sequence of dunes at the web-site of a prolonged-abandoned wartime bunker just outdoors the port town of Esbjerg.

With FLUGT, which opened to the public yesterday, June 29, next an inauguration ceremony attended by Queen Margrethe, BIG likewise adapted a forsaken relic of Entire world War II for new modern day use. In this instance, the Copenhagen-established company worked alongside Vardemuseerne to convert—with a eager eye toward historic preservation—an old clinic on the grounds of the Oksbøl Refugee Camp into a around 17,200-sq.-foot museum that sets out to “give a voice and a facial area to people who have been pressured to flee their households and seize the common challenges, emotions and nuances shared by refugees then and nowadays,” per museum director Claus Kjeld Jensen.

aerial view of a museum complex surrounded by forest
FLUGT’s forest-flanked campus is outdoors of Oksbøl, a little city on Jutland’s west coast in the vicinity of the German border. (Rasmus Hjortshøj)

As detailed in a press launch shared by Big, core collaborators on the $16.7 million greenback venture (Germany reportedly contributed $1.6 million to the work) incorporated engineering agency Ingeniør’ne and Dutch exhibition design and style studio, Tinker Imagineers, which also labored together with Huge on the Tirpitz Museum task.

The old hospital is a person of only a modest handful of buildings still left standing at what was the moment Oksbøl Refugee Camp. In the creation FLUGT, the very long-abandoned hospital’s two reduced-slung brick buildings have been fused with each other at the middle by a curving, Cor-ten metal-clad quantity that provides approximately 4,500 additional square ft to the footprint of the new museum. The soaring, timber-framed pavilion serves as the two connective tissue concerning the two historic buildings and a multi-use entrance hall a curving wall of glass at the heart of the house presents guests with sights of a massive central courtyard and the forest over and above. The courtyard, which generates a “peaceful sensory experience” by melding the naturalistic landscape (also made by Significant) of the web page with the museum interior, functions a modest circular reflecting pool at its centre.

a large open museum space with a soaring timber ceiling
Mainly performing as an entrance hall, the soaring volume can be utilized for situations, particular exhibitions, and on. (Rasmus Hjortshøj)

Again within BIG’s curvaceous entrance corridor, museum visitors can break up off into the two museum’s two distinct wings housed in the historic medical center properties: an exhibition-devoted region in the north wing that has gallery areas “organized according to the initial move/circulation in the medical center,” in accordance to the firm. “While most of the hospital space walls had been torn down, some of the inside of partitions are kept intact and stabilized by a few cross sections, producing greater exhibition areas.” To the south, the second outdated healthcare facility making has been transformed to accommodate smaller sized exhibition galleries, a convention home, café, and administrative spaces.

As Big elaborated, the museum’s south wing possesses the “same character and materiality” as the exhibition wing. The whole sophisticated features yellow brick flooring as a implies of “connecting previous and present constructions.”

gallery exhibition on refugees
An exhibition gallery in one particular of the historic healthcare facility buildings at the site. (Rasmus Hjortshøj)

“The buildings are some of the very last remaining actual physical manifestations of the previous refugee camp, and not only is their preservation a must have for foreseeable future generations to recognize the earlier and the present, the buildings also specifically educated our style and design of the extension by implies of their unique elongated kind, composition and materiality,” said Frederik Lyng, job leader with Huge, in a assertion. ”FLUGT is a fantastic illustration of how adaptive reuse can consequence in sustainable, functional structures that protect our shared background even though standing out architecturally.”

Now on see at FLUGT are two lasting exhibitions. Refugees At All Moments is an interactive exhibition that ”turns figures into people, and conveys the universal factors, views, and feelings affiliated with getting a human currently being on the run,” as the museum discussed. Becoming a member of Refugees At All Periods is a next exhibition tracing the limited but brutal history of the Oksbøl Refugee Camp. Two important outside features of the museum are an immersive audio wander as a result of the surrounding forest and the Refugee Cemetery where by the lifeless of the camp are buried.

an exhibition displaying personal possessions of refugees
A permanent exhibition a characteristics the particular belongings of individuals displaced by war and oppression. (Rasmus Hjortshøj)

“The Refugee Museum of Denmark explores an critical portion of our historical past and a theme that is a lot more relevant than ever, with millions of refugees currently displaced from their households,” mentioned Bjarke Ingels, BIG’s founding partner and innovative director.

FLUGT certainly paints a delicate, nuanced portrait of persons throughout the globe—from Vietnam to Bosnia to Afghanistan and Ukraine and beyond—who have been impacted by forced migration. It also celebrates the myriad contributions that immigrants have created to Danish culture in excess of the a long time. The opening of the museum, nevertheless, comes at a time when the affluent Nordic nation’s current technique to immigration regulation is considered as just about anything but helpful. In current decades, the region has enacted of the harshest anti-immigration guidelines in Europe and has come less than withering criticism as of late due its draconian—and in the see of numerous, inhumane—refugee guidelines, particularly pertaining to policies impacting asylum seekers from war-ravaged Syria.

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