Dorte Mandrup Thy

Thy National Park took shape by the end of the last Ice Age, when the ice melted and receded, and the land began to rise. At this unique location, where civilization meets the ocean, we find all the qualities of this area in one place. The sounds and smells of the North Sea, ice cream on sale, and a sea bath for safe swims in the salty waters. But most remarkable is the confrontation with forces of nature, the entire reason why the landscape looks as it does, and why our proposal for a new National Park Center hides under the sand dunes.

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Characterized by windy coasts and sandy dune heaths, Thy National Park spans 55 kilometers north to south along the Northwestern coast of Jutland, Denmark. The sandy dune heaths of the area are a rare habitat in a European context, protected by law. It is a beautiful, but harsh, landscape, attracting tourists and researchers to the area year-round. Located in this stunning landscape, our proposal for Thy National Park Center hides under the sand dunes allowing nature to play the lead at this unique spot.

According to The Danish Environmental Protection Agency a Danish national park “holds some of Denmark's most unique and valuable nature areas and landscapes. These are areas of importance to the Danes, but they are also given and will receive international attention and significance.”

Our proposal for the new Thy National Park Center is literally shaped by this unique and valuable surrounding landscape. An in situ cast of the actual sand dune shapes the large interior space allowing for nature to continue its growth on top of the building. The structure is self-supporting, making space for flexible and undisturbed use of the exhibition- and educational spaces ensuring the building a long lifetime. Three large excavations, or pits, convey the transition from outside to inside and allow the daylight to flow into the building.

The pits are dedicated to arrival, exhibition and leisure activities. They all offer shielded areas for outdoor activities such as picnics, barbequing, studying the surrounding nature, cleaning fish etc., in close connection with the building. From afar, the pits seem to merge into the existing landscape, but getting closer they unveil the unique interior of the National Park Center and bring curiosity to life. 

Our proposal for the new Thy National Park Center is literally shaped by the unique and valuable surrounding landscape.
Dorte Mandrup Thy
Dorte Mandrup Thy