The right tone

The competition for an annex for the CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art Denmark on the island of Fyn was won by the architects at Kjaer og Richter – with a compelling concept. They placed the lion’s share of the required exhibition space under the ground, and only in the park did they add a pavilion for special exhibitions. As a result the Grimmerhus was expanded without the premises with the ancient gardens dating from 1857 being otherwise changed in any way. Similar to the Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, on Fyn a sculpture park has arisen featuring a direct view out over the sea. However, here the artworks are mainly made of clay, as the museum is home exclusively to porcelain, ceramic and glazed earthenware. It is only logical that for the pavilion’s façade the architects therefore chose hand-painted bricks by Petersen. This instills the new build with sculptural qualities while harmonizing with the surroundings.

The pavilion is in terms of basic layout compact and hard-edged but has a surprise in store. The bricks cover a color spectrum ranging from rusty red to chestnut brown and are mounted in steel frames that can be aligned as required and depending on the angle of the sunlight. In total, 108 brick louvers running the full height of the building are moved by drives in order to enable the glass surfaces behind to let more or less light into the building. Only the spectacular, two-storey glass frontage facing the sea has no such adjustable brick outer skin.

Petersen produced the bricks for the façade in the different color tones and formats to specifications provided by the architects. Thanks to the highly varied and vibrant surface visitors have an idea of the beauty and range of the material before they have even stepped foot in the pavilion. Inside the museum the exhibits run from experimental ceramics of the 1980s through to finest porcelain from Royal Kopenhagen made in past centuries. With the new pavilion and its brick facades melded the sculpture garden, the old building, nature and the view of the sea into a coherent whole. (rw)


The new build for the CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art Denmark on Fyn is a straightforward cube. Through the large glass frontage the visitor is looking directly out over the sea. Photo © Anders Sune Berg

The large part of the new exhibition space is concealed beneath the lawn of the old gardens round the ancient Grimmerhus. Photo © Anders Sune Berg

The trick: The Petersen bricks are assembled on adjustable steel frames.
Photo © Anders Sune Berg

The alternation of open and closed surfaces brings the façade to life and the materials, too: hand-painted bricks from Petersen. Photo © Anders Sune Berg

Vibrant facade: In line with the architects’ plans, Petersen manufactured the bricks in different color tones and formats. Photo © Anders Sune Berg

There’s a glass façade behind the movable brick louvers. By swiveling the louvers, more or less daylight enters the interior. Plan © Kjaer og Richter


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