The architect behind ARKEN, Søren Robert Lund, drew up three principal aims for the museum’s visionary architecture when it was constructed in the 1990s:
1. The museum should fit into the surrounding landscape, and the ground plan should be based on the characteristic lines of the landscape.
2. The museum should reflect its proximity to water by referring in its formal aspects to a ship. Furthermore, the form should refer to the history of the landscape – to the fact that the museum is situated on an artificial tongue of land where water used to be.
3. The museum should be flexible in its form in order to embrace various cultural activities and accommodate the changing demands of different exhibitions.
These three principal aims are still evident in ARKEN’s architecture although the development over the years has made its mark on the museum. Elements have been taken down, new ones added and several new rooms have been constructed: All initiatives with the purpose of providing a better framework for the art and more agreeable facilities for the visitors.
Originally ARKEN was placed as a ship by Køge Bay. There are still many references to ship architecture in the edifice, while others have been removed in connection with the extensions. The museum still interplays with its maritime surroundings, like a lively sculpture reaching into the landscape.
Since its opening in 1996, ARKEN has seen two extensions. The first extension was finished in 2008 and gave the museum more exhibition rooms, whereas the latest extension in 2009 focused on better facilities for the visitors.
From the distant past’s sea of ice to today’s museum of modern art
In 1996 ARKEN opened as an architectural landmark and an active centre for modern art
The 2008 extension gave ARKEN more room for the art
The 2009 extension focused on better facilities for ARKEN’s visitors