© Rasmus Hjortshøj
© Rasmus Hjortshøj
© Rasmus Hjortshøj
© Rasmus Hjortshøj
© Rasmus Hjortshøj
Sparse pine and birch woods with sand dunes in between covered in grass and heather: at the end of 1944, in the midst of such a setting, the Wehrmacht – the German armed forces – began to erect their largest bunker complex of all time near Blåvand on the west coast of Denmark. With two mighty cannon emplacements, the Tirpitz position was meant to defend the harbour entrance to nearby Esbjerg.

The project was never completed, however, and after the war, the Danish state attempted to dynamite the more southerly of the two bunkers – abortively, as it turned out – later converting it into a museum. On top of this powerful structure with its 3.5-metre-thick ­external walls a transparent dome with floral decoration was placed, and this still forms the crowning feature today.

In 2012, Bjarke Ingels Architects (BIG) were directly commissioned to undertake a major extension of the Tirpitz Museum. With their design, the office extrapolated the existing topography and concealed the main part of the 2,800 m² area of the building beneath the ground. Only four masses of earth, enclosed within the angular lines of Corten steel balustrades, project from the dunes.

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