Letter: `Museum squeeze
Thursday 03 June 1999
Sir: I must take issue with Nonie Niesewand's suggestion that only philistines could object to the proposed expansion of the Danish museum Louisiana ("Land of missed opportunity", 31 May). Although what happened to Jorn Utzon in Sydney was scandalous, we should beware of thinking that any objection to one of his buildings must be history repeating itself.
I myself would like to see his new exhibition space for architectural drawings built, but I understand the objections to its positioning at Louisiana, a museum which is in the process of being destroyed by its own success.
At its opening, Louisiana was meant to provide an intimate setting for avant-garde art through the sensitive integration of its architecture with the natural setting. However, in recent years the museum has fallen victim to a drive towards ever-growing visitor numbers and constant new expansion projects, all on the same small(ish) plot of land. Hence the planned positioning of Utzon's building in the sea - undeniably an innovative idea, but clearly a solution generated by lack of space. Access, of course, will not improve unless we all start driving amphibious vehicles.
The fact of the matter is that Louisiana is in a less than ideal position to realise its vast ambitions: being on the coast, it has only half the network of roads of a comparable museum inland. Not surprisingly, the inhabitants of Humelbaek are resisting any further additions to the site. This is not the small, environmentally friendly museum they once welcomed.
Denmark is an island-archipelago, with thousands of miles of coastline which could do with an Utzon museum of architecture. Why situate it in a place where it will only add to the problems?
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