Studio Weave

House of Fairytales . Odense

Studio Weave . House of Fairytales

Within his fairytales, Hans Christian Andersen describes an incredible world - our world! By exploring everyday environments from new perspectives, magical places are revealed.

To read his tales is to be initiated into hidden truths. There are three important keys that Andersen uses to initiate us. Our proposal for The House of Fairytales Garden borrows these keys.

The first key unlocks the knowledge that mankind and nature are more alike and intertwined than we know: flowers may dance
the night away at a ball and the humble match may brag of its high birth.
We have discovered that buildings, like trees, grow from seeds, nourished by roots hidden underground. Andersen’s house, the memorial hall and two existing townhouses are joined by 13 new fairytale houses including a café, shop, galleries, artist in residence space, and a viewing tower. All the houses have roots extending into a rolling landscape.
The second key unlocks new points of view, showing us that all is not as we expected: a flower bud belies a prince’s home, and a dark
cave belies a garden of paradise.
We have discovered a forgotten space between the earth’s surface and underground. This is a place thick with magic where we can walk between the roots of the trees and roots of the fairytale houses. Amongst the roots are spaces for stories to unfold including a library, theatre, children’s experience and exhibition space.
The third key unlocks the true understanding of the foolish hierarchies of our world: princesses are not always good, and money
doesn’t always make you rich.

We have discovered that a museum need not be an impenetrable institution divided from the city, but can be a garden for all ages that we can wander through as we wander through a forest where all around us are burrows and nests and hideouts waiting to entice locals and tourists alike. Our design extends the pattern of the existing city fabric to create fairytale houses that sit within a public garden, immersing the museum, and fairytales, into Odense.

Many of the fairytales play with the distinction between what is natural and what is man-made. The story of the mechanical nightingale is a key example. That this brief calls for both a garden and building is a fantastic opportunity to explore this theme. So we have imagined that the buildings, like trees, grow and have long organic roots reaching into the earth. We have also arranged the buildings on the site as one might arrange a garden or woodland, considering views to key specimens, and paths for meandering across the site.
A great sense of excitement is created in the tales because they often describe things that on the surface seem ordinary, but as more is revealed something incredible happens. He does this in such a way as to make the reader feel as though all these things are possible and might happen at any moment. The learned man sitting with his shadow and wishing it could do his bidding is but a small stretch of the imagination, and then Andersen shows us what might happen if this wish came true. Having imagined that the houses have tree-like roots, it was then important to invite visitors down into the earth to walk between the roots, to enter into an incredible world and explore what might happen if a strange thought came true.
Silly royalty and the talented ordinary person is a recurrent theme in the tales. The true princess is the one without the social restraint not to mention the pea-sized bump, and the unsuspected true creative is the lowly gardener. The brief picks up on this theme by placing the museum within a public garden. We would like to see the museum mass itself divide to allow the public to wander through as much as possible.
Contemporary key-card technologies can allow this model to work while maintaining security and ticketed areas.

Access and Circulation
The museum sits at the heart of Odense, meaning that it forms a part of the urban fabric that will be passed through in every direction between many destinations. It is therefore key that the site is penetrable, open to allow the criss-crossing of desire lines in a natural, intuitive way.
The museum zone itself is accessed:
- by car, directly from the carpark level: the root zone begins at car park level to the west of the site, rising to meet ground level to the north-east. The existing levels allow this transition to work smoothly.
-by tram, from the tram stop to the west
-by bicycle, from the cycle lane to the west
-on foot from ground level to the west, or root level to the north-east

Within the museum, a member of the public without a ticket can access all the non-programmed areas both the rolling landscape at ground and the root level. There are three ticket points above ground, and three at root level. Once a visitor has bought a ticket, they can wander freely throughout the museum via a key-card system. Technology such as location-aware audio guides could augment this experience.

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