Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, the Danish Jewish museum was built in the year 2004, in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is located south of the Christiansborg Palace in central Copenhagen.
The museum, a renovation of the interior space, sits as a landmark and symbol of positive energy of the Jewish history and culture in the Danish Royal Boat House, showcasing Danish Jewish historical arts and artifacts. It memorializes the human bond between Danes and Danish Jews, where the former saved the latter from Nazi persecution during the second world war.
Overall Design Philosophy | Danish Jewish Museum
Libeskind’s museum design was carried out within the existing historic space and building, where the brick external old typology houses the new design with angular lines and spaces symbolizing a concept unique to their culture.
It symbolizes a unique space interaction of the two times, blending the vaulted bricks and the exhibition space.
This museum of Denmark is the first of its kind dedicated to a minority and rather than focusing on the holocaust. The idea was to present the diversity and culture of the Jewish Community in Denmark, to focus on the positive and unique aspects of Jewish history. It also explores the idea of inclusiveness, celebrating Danes including the Jews in the country.
Concept and Style
Daniel Libeskind’s work is inspired by historic and cultural layers. Different layers of events, contributions, etc., seem to overlap and blend for a holistic or desired experience.
Contrary to the other museum designed by Architect Daniel Libeskind, this museum is a lighthearted space with bright interiors. It is a more positive experience as compared to the conceived side of Jewish history.
The museum is divided by Libeskind into five parts that are Exodus, Wilderness, The giving of the law, The promised land, and Mitzvah. All other four concepts find a place in the four planes or dimensions symbolizing different histories of Jewish culture, while Mitzvah the fifth element unites them.
The original idea of ‘Mitzvah’, means a Hebrew word meaning good deed, heartfelt reaction, and commitment showcasing the traits of the Danes and the positivity of Danish Jews being rescued.
The Design of Spaces
The museum resembles the museum in Berlin, for imitating the geometric, light, and material play for experience and is completely juxtaposed to it standing on a very positive historical note. The design conceived by Libeskind has permanent exhibition spaces that present four centuries of Danish Jewish history. Mitzvah forms like a central text underlay of the structure.
The main corridor of the museum is shaped in the form of this word, indicating a positivity in the main spine of the space. The letters of the word hence form the shape of circulation making people meander in the four letters. Exhibitions feature items related to the life of Jewish in Denmark.
It is a small space with a gross floor area of 4800 square feet encompassing exhibition spaces, a museum building with a shop, and a cafe.
The museum’s layout accommodates a pedestrian walk between the new and old libraries, outdoor summer seating for a café, and intimate conversation spaces at the ground level of the entrance.
The whole building is organized as a series of planes. Together, the planes, named Exodus, Wilderness, The Giving of the Law, and The Promised Land, form interior corridors of staggered passages and sloped floorings.
The walls are not regular squares up to the ceiling, floors are sloped and severe angles and geometric spaces get formed along with the existing vaulted ceilings.
There exist no straight lines in the museum. The complex spaces and shapes provide an unconventional exhibition space functionality with an unimposed experience, having multilayered meanings of the Jewish culture and history. The sloped wooden planks, for example, experience the visitor of standing on a boat, reminding of the rescue.
The entire space of display is lit by glass. The use of strip light in the other directions escalates the feeling of space, symbolizing Mitzvah again along with creating well lit functional, and positive museum space.
Materials and Structure | Danish Jewish Museum
The building has a rigid traditional brick exoskeleton with an angled meandering inner form.
The Structural system on the interiors is steel coated plywood. The exteriors are built in the old brick style and have a vaulted brick roof. The panels used for the second inner layer creating the angled distribution are made in clear plywood, birch, and oak.
The light wood casing on walls makes a Nordic statement while there are also glass windows that cut into the walls, penetrating natural light through thick rigid structures, implying the idea of Mitzvah. Wooden flooring wraps the exhibition space all over.
- En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Danish Jewish Museum – Wikipedia. [online] Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danish_Jewish_Museum>
- WikiArquitectura. 2021. Danish Jewish Museum – Data, Photos & Plans – WikiArquitectura. [online] Available at: <https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/building/danish-jewish-museum/>
- Museum, D., 2021. Danish Jewish Museum – Dansk Arkitektur Center – DAC. [online] Dansk Arkitektur Center – DAC. Available at: <https://dac.dk/en/knowledgebase/architecture/danish-jewish-museum/>
- BIANCHINI, R., 2021. Danish Jewish Museum – Copenhagen. [online] Inexhibit. Available at: <https://www.inexhibit.com/mymuseum/danish-jewish-museum-copenhagen-daniel-libeskind/>
- Lomholt, I., Welch, A., Lomholt, I. and Lomholt, I., 2021. Danish Jewish Museum, Libeskind Copenhagen – e-architect. [online] e-architect. Available at: <https://www.e-architect.com/copenhagen/danish-jewish-museum>