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Stirling Prize Video: Fuglsang Kunstmuseum

Tony Fretton talks about the creation of his museum in Lolland, Denmark

Interview: Tony Fretton, principal, Tony Fretton Architects


What was the inspiration behind the building’s design?

To make a work of art that was capable of showing fine art, which people would enjoy in an innocent way. There is real diversity in the existing buildings on site, which include a white painted barn and formal manor house, all arranged around a farmyard and pond and looking out across a wonderful landscape and the sea.

It was important to make the new museum discernable in that landscape whilst also having relations with the current buildings. The museum is an abstract building of the present time that picks up the lines of these existing buildings, such as its three diagonal rooflights, which relate to the three gables in the facade of the manor house.

How did you get on with the client?

Our relationship with our client has been very positive throughout. We have a good relationship with the director of the museum, Anne Højer Petersen, which has grown stronger since the building completed. We find this is often the case with our clients. Our friendships are enduring.

Tell us about your experience of the jury visit.

It was a very strong jury of intelligent, informed individuals with diverse interests and directions. These qualities are crucial for good judging. The visit was very pleasant. The jury had travelled to Fuglsang from Spain and were finishing an exhausting itinerary, yet they were very focused and maintained interest in every aspect of the project in the time we spent together. Petersen joined us and there was a balanced discussion of our intentions and her experience.

What would be your response to winning the Stirling Prize?

Prizes such as this are a form of public recognition that is very valuable. It would be good to win.

Of the other shortlisted projects, which would you pick as the winner?

All the projects are projects of merit, that’s why they are on the shortlist.

How does Fuglsang relate to your other work in the arts sector?

Our arts work in the arts dates back to the Lisson Gallery, London, completed in 1992, and includes Quay Arts Centre on the Isle of Wight and Camden Arts Centre, also in London. Over the years we have developed a strategy for making spaces that incorporate environmentally controlled art galleries with sociable public spaces and offices or studios which offer excitement and stimulation.

Project Data

Start on site August 2006
Completion date December 2007
Gross internal floor area 2,540m2
Form of contract Total-entreprenør
Total cost 7.2 million euros (£5.6 million)
Cost per m2 £2,205
Client Bygningsfonden/The Building Foundation
Architect Tony Fretton Architects
Executive architect BBP Arkitekter A/S
Structural engineer/services engineer/quantity surveyor Birch & Krogboe/Alectia A/S
Project manager Bascon A/S
Main contractor CC Brun Entreprise A/S
Annual CO2 emissions Precise figures are not required under Danish legislation. Emissions are predicted to be relatively low as the museum will be heated by a CO2-neutral biomass source.

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