In 2015, we joined forces with Architecture 00. Together, we enjoy collaborating in a shared environment where strategic, urban and social designers, architects, programmers and economists practice design beyond its traditional borders. 00 work with individuals, governments, corporations and communities to solve problems and anticipate change, and to design successful platforms and places. As a studio it aims to reach beyond the design of objects themselves to the social, economic and environmental systems behind them.

House of Fairytales

Studio Weave  were selected as one of the ten finalists chosen from 475 entries for the Hans Christian Andersen House of Fairytales, an international competition organised by the Danish Architects’ Association and Odense City Museums.

Our proposal is for a series of buildings planted in a subterranean garden. The fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen often play with the distinction between what is natural and what is man-made, a theme that we’ve explored in our design. Bursting through the surface, the buildings create ruptures in the earth through which visitors can descend into an underworld of magic and stories.

We have imagined that the buildings, like trees, grow and have long organic roots reaching into the earth. The buildings are arranged on the site as one might arrange a garden or woodland, considering views to key specimens, and paths for meandering across the site. Among the roots are spaces for stories to unfold including a library, theatre, children’s experience and exhibition space.

Our design extends the pattern of the existing city fabric to create fairytale houses that sit within a public garden, immersing the museum, and fairytales, into Odense. 

Andersen’s house, the memorial hall and two existing townhouses are joined by 13 new fairytale houses including a café, shop, galleries, artist in residence space, and a viewing tower. All the houses have roots extending into a rolling landscape. 

The landscape is moulded to create height above large spaces, such as the Tinderbox and theatre. The arches follow these profiles creating the sinuous, curious atmosphere between the roots. Sunken courtyards are created by making cuts in the landscape that bring light down into the root level like clearings in a forest. 

To read Hans Christian Andersen’s tales is to be initiated into hidden truths. There are three important keys that Andersen uses to initiate us.  

The first key unlocks the knowledge that mankind and nature are more intertwined than we know: buildings, like trees, grow from seeds, nourished by roots. 

"Flowers may dance the night away at a ball and the humble match may brag of its high birth."

The second key unlocks new points of view, showing us that all is not as we expected: we have exposed a forgotten space between the earth’s surface and underground where we can walk between the roots of the fairytale houses. 

"A flower bud belies a prince’s home, and a dark cave belies a garden of paradise."

The third key unlocks the true understanding of the foolish hierarchies of our world: a museum need not be an impenetrable institution divided from the city, but can be a garden for all ages that we can wander through.

"Princesses are not always good, and money doesn’t always make you rich."