Moesgaard Museum

Moesgaard Museum


Design Brief
The new 16,000 sq m museum is uniquely located in the hilly landscape of Skåde south of Aarhus. With its sloping roofscape of grass, moss and flowers in bright colours the building will appear a powerful visual landmark perceptible even from the sea. The rectangular shaped roof plane seems to grow out of the landscape and during summer it will form an area for picnics, barbecues, lectures and traditional Midsummer Day’s bonfires.The heart of the building is the foyer where the ticket sales, the museum shop and the public café are situated. From here, one can enjoy the impressive view of the Aarhus Bay through great glass walls. Furthermore, from the foyer there is access to the large roof top terrace with outdoor service.The interior of the building is designed like a varied terraced landscape inspired by archaeological excavations gradually unearthing the layers of history and exposing lost cities. The visitor can move through a vivid sequence of exhibitions and scientific experiments, like a traveler in time and space.

Partner_Group_2015Sustainable Design
The overall sustainable strategy has been integrated in the architectural design. Fundamental elements such as the building’s geometry and orientation have been considered in order to maximise every square meter. The south-facing roof surface (roof facade) forms the calculated basis for an energy-efficient building which achieves Energy Class 1 status.The green roof of the museum contributes to decreasing the energy consumption of the building. The roof reduces the overall need for cooling due to decreased heat absorption. Furthermore, the overall amount of wastewater draining from the site is reduced.The roof slopes downwards to the south, protecting the objects on display from direct sunlight. Connected to each exhibition room, a glass-enclosed area functions as a break room – allowing visitors to enter but preventing direct sunlight from reaching the objects on display. In these spaces, visitors can have a bright respite from the dark of the exhibition spaces and reorient to nature and sunlight.An optimal use of daylight in the remaining part of the museum has reduced the need for artificial lighting, decreasing overall energy consumption. Around the administrative and educational facilities which are placed in the rising end of the building, small yards in the building volume has been placed allowing the daylight to penetrate the roof.

The materials of the building harmonise with the overall expression of the building and at the same time consider acoustics, economy, technical settings, maintenance, durability, colour options and sustainability.

To get an enthralling experience of the space, visit
video credits: Henning Larsen Architects

Fact File
location: Aarhus,
client: Moesgaard Museum
client advisor: D-K2
type of assignment: First prize in invited competition
landscape architects: Kristine Jensens Tegnestue
engineers: Cowi
contractors: MT Højgaard og Lindpro
construction period: 2010 – 2013
gross floor area: 16,000 sq m


About the Architects
Henning Larsen Architects is one of the most international architecture companies in Denmark with projects in more than 20 countries. The company currently employs approx. 240 people. Today, the company is owned by a joint group of partners consisting of Louis Becker, Werner Frosch, Signe Kongebro, Jacob Kurek, Mette Kynne Frandsen, Ingela Larsson, Lars Steffensen, Anders Sælan, Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen and Søren Øllgaard.
Henning Larsen Architects is managed by a management team consisting of CEO, Mette Kynne Frandsen and Design Director, Louis Becker. In 2008, Henning Larsen Architects established a subsidiary company in Saudi Arabia, Henning Larsen Middle East, with an office situated in central Riyadh. Henning Larsen Architects also has an office in Munich, Germany; Oslo, Norway; Istanbul, Turkey; Faroe Islands and Hong Kong.