Tony Fretton Architects - Fuglsang Kunstmuseum in Lolland, Denmark Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 January 2011 12:48

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Unlike the location of an urban museum that is reached through the room-like spaces of a city, to go to Fuglsang entails a long journey through open countryside, finally arriving on a long straight road through a loose assembly of buildings to a courtyard at the heart of the Estate. Enclosing the west side of the courtyard is a long, low walled barn, painted white with a tall roof. On the north side is the land steward’s house, long again, simply ornamented and made of pale brick.
To the south is the Manor House, set back by an appropriate distance and separated by a moat. Country classical in style, the red brick façade is arranged in three tall gables and the interior has decorated ceilings and parquet floors that change in pattern from room to room. The best of its rooms look out to a refined landscaped garden behind and have long been places for the performance of music.
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Edited by Lynda Waggoner


In the attic are small plain bedrooms for visitors who come to stay and walk in the wonderful countryside to Skejten and the bird sanctuary at the edge of the sea in Guldborgsund, which lie to the east of the courtyard. Out in the fields on this side of the courtyard lie another barn, this one painted red, and the original forge building with the path to Skejten running between them.
What would it mean to place a Museum, a new building of a different kind here, to bring visitors to it and to alter the landscape around it? These were questions that landscape designer, Torben Schønherr along with designing architects Tony Fretton and Ebbe Wæhrens asked themselves while visiting Fuglsang for the first time.

The Museum and its surroundings
The landscape and sea to the east had such prominence that the designers felt that they should be the first thing that visitors saw as they came to the Museum.

To leave the courtyard open to the view and place the Museum in line with the land steward’s house, pointing to the horizon was controversial. A strong suggestion had been made in the brief of the original architectural competition, that the new Museum should reinstate the original form of the courtyard by enclosing its east side.
Instead, like the red barn and the forge, the Museum extends into the fields while having a strange axial but offset relation to the most significant of the buildings, the Manor House and its formal surroundings.

Connection between the two buildings is further established by the way that the Museum is first presented to visitors as a brick façade, the same length as the Manor House, with three diagonal roof lights above that relate to the three gables in the façade of the Manor House.

Like the buildings around the courtyard, and many classic works of Danish modernism, the facades of the Museum are constructed from brick. As in the barn on the west side of the court, they are painted white and the roof lights are in a grey brick the colour of the roofs of the buildings around it.

At the entrance to the Museum the façade steps back, making a place for visitors to gather at the edge of the courtyard. At this point the view of the land and sea is temporarily taken away and the Museum and visitors become the focus.
A canopy of painted metal in the form of an open sided cube, low and wide, provides shelter from the rain, and is matched by a glass wind lobby of equal scale and transparency in the entrance foyer within the building.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 06 January 2011 13:22
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