North Jutland Art Museum


North Jutland Art Museum

Aalborg, Denmark



The Nordic architectural competition for the design of this museum (deadline January 15, 1958) attracted 144 entries. The plan worked out jointly by Alvar and Elissa Aalto and Jean-Jacques Baruël won; construction, however, did not begin until 1966. The museum was completed in 1972. The site is a high beech-grown slope above Kong Christians allé. The museum consists of a nearly square basement partly embedded into the slope and used mainly for car parking, with the main storey resting on this foundation and containing all of the exhibition rooms. With its roof rising in steps around the central hall, the building resembles a pyramid with a skylight in its lantern-like crown. The hall is flanked on two sides by a lobby and on the other by exhibition rooms, which can be divided flexibly by means of moveable wall units. Aalto here made use of a special lighting system consisting of two-sided, elongated skylights which on the south side prevent the sunlight from penetrating at an angle up to 56( (corresponding to Aalborg's latitude), but is open up to 90( on the north side. Double parabolic reflecting surfaces are suspended from the ceiling, reflecting the light onto the walls shadowlessly. The main storey also has a music room with prism-shaped skylights. The basement level, apart from parking space, contains a restaurant, two lecture rooms, a restoration workshop, etc. Outside are a sculpture garden and an open-air theatre. The facade materials are marble, glass, and copper sheet; much marble was also used in the interiors. The museum was inaugurated June 8, 1972.

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