14 December 2012

The ex-zoo

This is just one of those things... I have passed this spot in Krystalgade hundreds of times, as a kid I even used to have a newspaper route in this neighborhood, but I never noticed the animals. How is that even possible? And then suddenly, out of nowhere, there they were. I knew something spectacular had to be hiding inside, and rushed home to look it up. It is the old zoological museum of Copenhagen by architect Chr. Hansen, dating back to 1870. If that doesn't make perfect sense?

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Back then they didn't have electricity, so to make the most of the daylight the centre of the building was created as an open space, with a huge glass ceiling. (I found a way in, as if anyone would have been able to stop me, ha!)

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The checkered ground floor (insert drool here) with the three floor high ceiling, was built to display skeletons of extra large mammals like giraffes and elephants, and the hallway resembled that of a trophy collection of a wild game hunter. It must have been a freaky and beautiful place in its day. The checkered floor is now an office landscape, it is better it lives in your mind the other way. Trust me.

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Daylight.

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By 1967 the museum had outgrown itself, and closed for the public. Back then it was exactly three years away from being eligible for protection, and as it was considered a worthless piece of architecture at the time, there were talks about replacing it with a brand new office building. UGH?! Can you imagine? Today it is a part of the Copenhagen University, and they have gone to great lengths to preserve the interior.

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Humor in the detail: the vultures hovering over it all. All different.

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How would you like to go to work here every day?

If you are hungry for more information about the old museum space, check these links:



19 comments:

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    1. Imagine being a guest at the hotel right across from it. What a view.

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  2. Wonderful expressions on the animals' faces!

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    1. There were even more animals, a wild boar, a lion and a wolf, as I recall. Mad details.

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  3. I would love to work here even more if I got to perch like the vultures ;) Great find, as usual! Have a great weekend, Sandra :)

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  4. I had a meeting in there last month and kept sneaking looks at the ceiling and details! Really amazing. Thanks for sharing these awesome photos =)

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    1. Ah, so you kind of worked there for a day, then. :-)

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    2. Haha, I wish I could work there more. But I was really just a guest more than anything.

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    1. Det er helt vildt! Et mirakel at det ikke blev revet ned og erstattet af nybyggeri, pyha.

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  6. All I can think is 'wooooooah'.

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    1. Yeah, me too. Pretty lucky they didn't destroy it back then. Today's equivalent to the disrespect for history back then, is how trees and green spots are being destroyed every time they build something new. There is zero consideration for existing old trees in urban planning today. The first order of business is to kill trees, even though they can be uprooted and replaced. Or spared.

      Forty years from now, people will ask what we were thinking, I am sure of it.

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  7. Hi, that's beautiful! Next time I walk there, I have to take a time and LOOK...

    About trees and architecture... When I came to Denmark, I thought that Danes absolutelly don't care about their environment, landscape, buildings, history etc. It's too easy to destroy something and build something new. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not. Now I know (also thanks to your blog;-)), that there are some people, who do care and you have my great support:-)

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    1. Oh, I agree! And at the same time I am so embarrassed that you noticed it. There is a lot of demolition going on at the moment, and history and nature is swept away. It is like architects/land owners are not equally interested in working on the existing structures, they would rather just wipe the slate clean and start over.

      In the cases where they do work on what is already there, the result is so much more inspiring and livable. I am working on a post on that. Ah, your comment made me really happy, thank you Gabriela. :-)

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  8. This reminds me that there is wonderful stone bear peeking out above the doorway of Grønningen 21. (You can even see him - or her? - clearly from Google streetview. Not to the same extent or fabulousness as these photos, but he is adorable. Maybe you have seen him?

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    1. No, I will have to check that out now. Thank you for the tip. :-)

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  9. Well I work in that building :) What amaze me the most is how little I notice those details in my daily work. The statues of vultures, eagles, storks and so on in the atrium is quite awesome, though.

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    1. We are all guilty of that, I think. It is so easy to take beauty for granted, when you are surrounded by it every day. You must remember to pinch yourself once in a while, and really take it all in.

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