The Tirpitz project is actually an extension of an existing museum that was already installed in the bunker. BIG sensibly left the original building alone and dug a subterranean neighbor so as to not impact the coastal landscape. It's an elegant design and really takes its place well, contrasting with the bunker.
"The architecture of the Tirpitz is the antithesis to the WWII bunker," says BIG founder Bjarke Ingels. "The heavy hermetic object is countered by the inviting lightness and openness of the new museum. The galleries are integrated into the dunes like an open oasis in the sand – a sharp contrast to the Nazi fortress' concrete monolith."
The project, which is reminiscent of BIG's other subterranean museum, has a total floorspace of 2,800 sq m (30,138 sq ft) and is arranged in a vaguely cross-like shape. It's made from concrete, weathered steel, glass and wood. The concrete walls were cast on-site and support large cantilevering roof decks.
Inside the Tirpitz museum, which is designed by the Netherlands' Tinker Imagineers, visitors pass through a central courtyard to access to a total of four galleries, three of which are permanent.
The permanent galleries consist of Army of Concrete, which recounts human stories behind the construction of Hitler's massive Atlantic Wall coastal defenses, and Gold of the West Coast is hailed as Western Europe's most comprehensive exhibition of amber. Finally, West Coast Stories tells 100,000 years of coastal history through a 4D theater and includes a huge life boat for visitors to sit in.
Construction of the museum started back in 2014 and it officially opened last week. The organizers expect it to attract up to 100,000 visitors a year.