In March 1996 ARKEN was inaugurated. The edifice both represented an architectonic landmark and an active centre for modern art. ARKEN was placed as a ship, with stem and sail, on the edge of the sea. With an area of 9,200 m2 it welcomed its visitors inside to look closer at ARKEN’s artistic cargo.
As on a ship, the constructions were visible. Both inside and outside one found fragments of maritime parts and elements. The few recurring ornaments – the nut and the bolt – were drawn from ship architecture; the visible piping below the ceiling, the dark colour and the resounding acoustics recalled an engine room below deck.
Despite ARKEN’s obvious ship metaphors, the museum’s architecture and the landscape worked together, for the main lines of the landscape were repeated in ARKEN’s floor plan. The museum was designed along two axes: One is Skovvej, the other the coastline. The Art Axis runs parallel to the road, while the Red Axis follows the water’s edge.
From the distant past’s sea of ice to today’s museum of modern art
The 2008 extension gave ARKEN more room for the art
The 2009 extension focused on better facilities for ARKEN’s visitors
ARKEN’s development over the years has made its mark on the museum