The Wadden Sea Centre

Dorte Mandrup


The Wadden Sea Centre is an extension to an existing, angled exhibition building from 1995. The extension has been designed to embrace the original building with a cohesive layout and natural flow between the two. The four-winged farm typology and thatched roof pay homage to the original Viking buildings of the region, creating a courtyard that provides shelter from the constant wind and a construction resilient against the saline climate. 

The soft, textural reeds of the roof are sculpturally processed with long precise cuts creating eaves, covered areas and intersections between diagonal and vertical surfaces. It is constructed using techniques originating from the Viking Age and adapted by local thatchers to create the unique design. Thatch is one of the only materials that can be used directly from nature and the reeds used for the roof are sourced locally from Ringkøbing Fjord. 

The thatched cladding is supplemented with defined glass panels and wooden strip facades whilst new, oak windows in alternating dimensions have been added to enhance the buildings' visual coherence. Light is integral to the building, reiterated by the utility of sky lights, angular windows and ease of access to the outdoor spaces. Robinia is used for the wood-cladded facades and roof which will patinate overtime, allowing the building to further complement its surrounding UNESCO landscape. 

Designed with functional intent as a multi-purpose building the centre features a café, exhibition space, cinema room, teaching areas and large courtyard.

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