The development will also become the new home for the children’s centre Tinderbox, which is also themed around Anderson’s fairytales. The Tinderbox is the name of one of Andersen’s early works.
Swathes of outdoor green space and a sunken courtyard will be created by setting two thirds of the building below ground. A river of pathways wind through enchanting gardens, with high walls of greenery creating curves spaces throughout the grounds. These tall hedges also run along the perimeter of some of the buildings, combining the architectural with the landscape in a seamless flow. Overhead views of the design show rooftop gardens that further blend the buildings into the environment and encourage the ‘forest’ feel of the design.
"It was important to us that gardens, building and exhibition design were envisaged as an interconnected whole that clearly captures the spirit of Andersen and brings out the essence of the city of Odense at the same time," said Odense's head of cultural affairs Jane Jegind.
Jegind notes that the new museum’s design will reflect more of the literary nature of Andersen’s work - as opposed to his personal life which is the focus of the current museum – creating a wonderland that feeds the imagination.
Kuma’s winning design for the museum also includes such elements as an indoor pond with green walls and a border of giant toadstools and dazzling flowers. The support poles within the space are designed to look like giant tree trunks, creating a forest-like feel to the chamber.
Kuma's Tokyo-based firm one the design competition against major firms including Bjarke Ingels' Copenhagen-based firm BIG, Spanish office Barozzi Veiga and Norwegian studio Snøhetta.
"The fact that Kengo Kuma is from Japan only goes to show that sometimes you have to travel abroad to find home," said Odense mayor and jury member Anker Boye.
"The proposal has a unique quality that captures the spirit of both Hans Christian Andersen and Odense, has striking international calibre and is locally embedded at the same time."
Kuma is working with Danish firms Cornelius+Vöge Architects, MASU Planning Landscape Architects and Eduard Troelsgård Engineers on the new museum. Completion of the project is expected to occur in 2020, once funding has been secured.