During the Ice Age, Ishøj and all of Køge Bay was covered in ice. The large black granite monolith which today stands in ARKEN’s foyer is a monument to the past and to the sea of ice that existed thousands of years ago here where ARKEN now lies.
Right up to the 1970s there was only an island of sand where ARKEN lies. But with the opening of Strandparken in 1980 came the opportunity to build a museum.
When all decisions and permissions were in place, in 1988 an architect competition was arranged for the new museum west of Copenhagen. The 25-year-old architecture student Søren Robert Lund won the competition.
On his first visit to Ishøj, Søren Robert Lund noticed the lines of the landscape. Strandparken stretches as a horizontal line along Køge Bay, only interrupted by the tall vertical constructions in Brøndby Strand and the centre of Ishøj town. From the air one can see how Strandparken consists of beaches and lakes. The roads to the beaches run on the dikes between the lakes, as seen in the Netherlands. The artificially created lines in combination with the area’s natural ones were incorporated in the museum architecture.
In 1996 another competition was arranged, this time for the name of the museum. ARKEN’s name alludes to the building’s ship-like shape.
ARKEN was inaugurated 15 March 1996.
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
ARKEN’s development over the years has made its mark on the museum