A respectful restoration of the architectural gem by Alvar Aalto rates Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg as being among the best renovation projects in Denmark
NIRAS provided client consultancy on the restoration of ‘Kunsten’ and the museum reopened in 2016.
Visitors feel they come back to a museum that they know but that has been upgraded to today’s requirements for a visit to a museum.
The renovation includes a thorough restoration of the building and park, new life to the exhibition areas and visitor facilities, a better flow through the museum and improved staff facilities. The listed building status limited the possibilities, but by digging into the ground and using the underlying lower ground level, it became possible to add brave innovations that work surprisingly well in the use of Aalto's building.
Key to the task was to preserve as much as possible of Aalto’s unique building and at the same time create a modern and up-to-date museum. We managed to fulfil the wishes of the museum within the boundaries of the house by operating below ground. The ground floor – where Aalto's architecture is best seen – remains almost untouched. The welcoming area has been changed, the museum shop has moved and been given more space and a knowledge area has been designed in the old chamber music hall.
The project is true to Aalto’s preferred choice of materials. Aalto worked with a limited selection of materials – wood, brick, marble, brass and concrete. This was respected.
Throughout the renovation project – from the initial programming and until the opening – NIRAS provided client consultancy and participated on the steering group, client committee and finance committee, prepared design specifications, was in charge of prequalification and full-service consultant tender as EU tender and acted as secretary of the review committee. In the design and construction phases, NIRAS also provided end-to-end client consultancy and coordinated the client's marble consultant.
The renovation took place in close dialogue with the preservation authorities of the Danish Agency for Culture.