ARKEN lies like a great sculpture overlooking Køge Bay. The museum’s architecture interplays with its maritime surroundings and is motivated by the lines of the landscape. One of the building’s main axes runs parallel with Skovvej whereas the other follows the coastline. ARKEN’s lines reach into the landscape like long arms anchoring the museum to the site and inviting the guests inside.
The architect behind ARKEN, Søren Robert Lund, worked with the ship as metaphor for his edifice. The museum was placed as a ship, with a stem and sails, by the edge of the sea.
ARKEN opened in 1996. The museum invited the visitors inside – to a completely different experience than the one that met them outside. Where the exterior of the museum derived inspiration from the surrounding landscape, a completely different experience awaited inside. From an outer landscape the visitors walked into an inner landscape which, with its slanted angles, high-ceilinged rooms, metal stairs and smooth walls, resembled a ferry or a large cruise ship where many functions were collected under one roof: gallery space, café, shop etc.
Subsequently ARKEN has undergone two extensions. The first one, in 2008, provided more space for the art whereas the 2009 extension improved the facilities for the visitors. At the most recent extension the entrance was changed so that the museum opened up to the world, giving the visitors a glimpse of the experience that awaits them; and ARKEN’s sails were dismantled.
Now the museum has settled in, dropping its anchor at Køge Bay with a cargo of modern art and original architectural experiences.