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VISITOR CENTER NATIONAL PARK MOLS MOUNTAINS

Mols Velkomstcenter i skumringen

TREDJE NATUR has created a proposal for the new visitor center at National Park Mols Mountains. The design of the new visitor center is based on the motions in the landscape and will lead the visitors through the nature and the cultural qualities in the national park. The proposal will stage the movement through topographical processes as a mean to create a strong and coherent master plan that will create new stories about Mols Mountains.

Project information
Responsible partner: Ole Schrøder
Design team: Mette Fast, Thomas Hobbs, Iryna Tsioma, Viktor Becker and Ninna Ravn
Client: Nationalpark Mols Bjerge
Project: Visitor Center Nationalpark Mols Mountains
Location: Kalø, Mols
Type: Competition
Area: 19.000 m²
Construction cost: 30 mill. Danish kroner
Team: TREDJE NATUR, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, EKJ Rådgivende Ingeniører, Dark Matters and Anne Schnettler
Role: Architecture and landscape
Period: 2016
Status:  Completed

Ankomst
Sueplan

A motion in the landscape
At the bottom of Kalø Vig, between past and future, the new visitor center appears from the landscape as a crucible in the transaction between four distinct landscape typologies: salt meadow, forest, pasture and fields. Together they create a magnificent scenic situation for the creation of a new visitor center at Mols Mountains. We wanted to create a visitor center that reflects the changing seasons, the local microclimate, the green and recreational routes, the wild nature, the unorganized meetings, as well as the transitions between indoor and outdoor. We wanted to create a visitor center that through the


quotations, programming and intuitive connections invite to both common and spontaneous movements that will be experienced as a cohesively performative surface that in a spatially sensual and topographic way, urges to active play and walks. The visitor Center evolves so to speak, in direct dialogue with Mols Mountains landscape and the Danish tradition of building – in and with the terrain. The goal is to get away from information screens, below surface and out in the open air in a visitor center adapted to the landscape – not vice versa!

Plan over Mols Bjerge
Historic landscape
A historical landscape
The deep valleys of Mols Mountain are created in the last ice age by meltwater and giant blocks of ice, that broke off the glacier and kept on lying there – so called kettle holes. There are many unique stones on Mols that you cannot find elsewhere in Denmark. Denmark has no granite or fells except on Bornholm. This means that the stones you can find on Mols arrived from other locations – like a geological gift from another time. Mols mountains and Kalø coastline is shaped by the landscape formations and the tongue-shaped glaciers that penetrated

Eastern Jutland. The characteristic landscape formations are formed under the ice while it was in motion, and forms an eye-catching portion of the Moraine surface in the hinterland of Mols Mountains. A distinctive glacial landscape defined based on the ice age shaping language, with a cover of dead ice and an inner structure of intersecting glacial streams. Since the last ice age, the landscape has changed dramatically – but always with clear topographical traces of climatic change and cultural remains from the Stone Age to modern times.

Konceptdiagrammer
Nature qualities
The area around Kalø is packed with different nature qualities and exciting activities. The area around the new visitor center has many natural attractions besides the ruins of Kalø castle, but together they create a special and unique area and excursion spot. A palette of nature begins south of Rønde, where Kalø castle ”puts icing on the cake” in a tale of cultural heritage, medieval and landscape formation. Ringelmose- and Hestehaveskov creates a scenic pocket where nature qualities and nature types meets. Fields, forest, water and the new

landscape typologies creates the framework for the visitor center that will invite visitors in, and send them out into the surrounding landscape.

There is a great variety of landscapes in the area surrounding the new visitor center. There are several different landscape types on and around the site including: coastal landscape, marsh, grass meadow, pasture, cultivated land, forest and high growing wild vegetation.


Site diagrams

A parking strategy in the landscape
Combined with the visitor center, two new landscape types will be established: grasslands and salt meadows. The reestablishment of the salt meadows is going to be on the current parking lot and will be maintained by grazing cattle. The new grasslands will be established at the new parking lot, which will form the framework for a scenic parking, new microclimates and increased biodiversity.

The traditional grassland appeared when the farmer sent his cattle out to the poor, rocky, steep and / or poor soils to graze. In this project, we are creating a sense of modern pasture where the cars and people are substituting the cattle as the disturbance factors that are needed to maintain the landscape while they contributes to a positive change in the growth conditions. Small hills of rocks for parking creates new microclimates for plants and animals whilst increasing the biodiversity in the area.


The parking landscape is a large part of the master plan. It plays in other words a large part in the overall experience of how you arrive and meet the visitor center. The parking landscape is constructed as a varying size that as a part of the natural flow can change character and capacity after need. The parking area can be gradually adjusted and expanded as the amount of visitors increases. The fewer visitors, the more wild green, and the other way around.

Our proposal puts great emphasis on the arrival situation so that the visitors and all means of transportation are surrounded by unique settings and have a good experience from the minute they arrive at the site. The parking landscape’s topography works as an organizing and distinctive landscape element that naturally leads the visitors towards the visitor center.

Plans

The Visitor Center
By connecting the story of the landscape with Hack Kampmanns ”Strandhuset”’s simple style, we see something very special occurring. Starting with the history, landscape and nature, it is our clear ambition to go humbly and openly to work, so that the new visitor center is experienced as a development of something else than the building itself.

Instead of creating an architectural and national romantic tautology, we want to follow the traditions and the spirit of Hack Kampmann by creating a simple building that is able to show the grand tales in one unifying and learning landscape.

We believe that we by focusing on the grand experiences in the nature can challenge and shape the physical frames as well as the landscape. That way we can strengthen the story about Mols Mountains with a special focus on the fascinating stories of the many geological artifacts.


The visitor center takes a natural setoff in the assignments demands and visions about a special typological character that is placed respectfully to Strandhuset and the ruins of Kalø Castle. The project is staging the obvious qualities and prospects and will already from the arrival form a natural and varied topographical experience from the integrated arrival and parking landscape and the visitor center. The visitor Center has been carefully placed after a scenic observation and created based on the slightly sloping terrain premises and the desire for a natural movement in an eventful inner- and outer landscape.

The project’s design has a direct and strong relationship with Mols Mountains special identity. The building is located in the landscape so that it creates the utmost relation, connection and visibility in the tension between culture and nature. The new visitor center annexes the characteristic surrounding landscape with its unique combination of local vegetation, topography and views – the sea and the Castle ruin.


Interior

Concept
The new visitor center is oriented towards the ruins of Kalø Castle. Together with the existing buildings, it creates a field of tension where the visitors are being led through a staged landscape. Geological deposits are exposed and the topography of the landscape goes through the building. Conceptually this represents the raised terrains current upper layer and represent the future building’s outer frame.

The shape of the roof is constructed by creating a clear destination and a natural vantage point for all visitors and passers-by, from which you can survey the surrounding countryside.


In the building’s diagonal corner, the roof is lowered in order to consolidate the movement out in the landscape, while the inside frames the most spectacular views towards the Kalø Castle ruins.

The history of the formation, glaciation and geology are reflected in the interior and exterior landscape through a unifying floor uniting the landscape, Strandhuset, the new visitor center and the arrival area. The new visitor center inscribes itself as a typology between building and landscape, with a volume that invites the visitors to experience and explore the area’s magnificent cultural and natural qualities.

Program

Exhibition – a geological biopsy
The exhibition is designed based on the topographical variation and activates the visitor centers floor as an integrated part of the exhibition. By implementing the exhibition from what one senses – that is what you see, feel, smell, hear, and almost tastes, we achieve increasing functional flexibility and communicative potential. There is always something new to look at – the seasons, the landscape’s colors or maybe large flocks of jackdaws.

We have worked with a floating terrain, so that the body is used in a different way than in more conventionally designed exhibitions. In contrast to the sharp lines and axes that define the precise building structure, the buildings floor and coating is proposed as an indication of elevation that is controlling to the movement, exhibition, planting, accessibility and accommodation.


“A journey through the landscape” is the main story of the exhibition that is an intensified and communicatively way travels down through the building’s landscape in a chronological interactive journey back to the Ice Age.

The communication consists of a combination of a factual timeline that is imprinted in the buildings diagonal spine and interactive experience islands. These contrasting elements form the core of the exhibition. The timeline starts at the information desk and continues to make glimpses down through the buildings island landscape. The island landscape sets focus on selected themes and culminates in an interactive glacial installation. Visitors can get their hands buried in geological and glacial traces and achieve a playful sense of the forces that were at play in the formation of the mountains.

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