Located in the south of Jutland, Denmark, Wadden Sea Centre is quietly unassuming, even at first glancing lying in balance between being seen and letting its surroundings take centre stage.
Initiated in 2017, the Wadden Sea Centre was given a modern, rather sculptural update by Copenhagen-based architecture firm Dorte Mandrup. The Wadden Sea Centre was designed to be a throughway to UNESCO World Heritage Site Wadden Sea, its mudflats seeing 15 million birds yearly stopping each year along their migratory route.
In true homage to the area and its unique marshlands, architects Dorte Mandrup were inspired by the ancient natural scenery around them, choosing to incorporate traditional Danish style and materials into their design.
The design of the Wadden Sea Centre is based on the region’s tradition four-winged thatched farmhouses. Using largely local materials and incorporating blackened wood for the exterior façade and even sourcing straw from a nearby field for the thatched roof honouring local tradition, Dorte Mandrup created a quietly unassuming structure.
“The main concept of the architecture is a new sculptural interpretation of the existing building culture of the region,” says Mandrup of the design, and that the main inspiration behind this project was to create a structure that points towards the future while maintaining its roots in the local building tradition. This ultramodern structure seemingly rises from its surroundings, both standing out and blending in.
The interior stands in contrast with the traditional, sculpture interior, its whitewashed walls allowing flexibility in the exhibition space. Large, angled windows not only flood the space with natural daylight, but allow visitors a view out into Wadden Sea, ensuring they are fully grounded in the spectacular nature of their surroundings.