Visitors Can Now Climb Denmark's Famous 'Kalø Castle' for the First Time in Centuries

| © David A. Garcia

Architecture & Design Editor

A seemingly simple staircase design by MAP architects has opened up one of Denmark’s most important archaeological gems, ‘Kalø Castle‘, a 700 year-old medieval ruin. Previously inaccessible, visitors can now enjoy a whole new user experience thanks to the firm’s innovative project.

Built on an isthmus projecting from the coast, it is a local landmark, a social anchor and major national tourist attraction in the northern part of the Jutland peninsula. However, the brick tower’s internal structure had laid empty for centuries, with only a small single opening being the only source of visual access.

Now, a staircase zig-zags its way through the three-storey building, allowing visitors to enter and experience the archaeological layers at hand’s reach and enjoy breathtaking views of the magnificent landscape via a series of openings and balconies.

It wasn’t easy to pull off, with various challenges of supporting the new structure without harming the integrity and structure of the original historic building. MAP architects cleverly used a portable 3D scanner to digitally scan each brick, meaning tolerances could be reduced to a minimum.

The team spent much time on the site to understand its potentials and challenges before coming up with a minimal yet intricate design that would fit the existing space perfectly.

To minimise damage to the monument the staircase is supported by the ruin at just four key points, spiralling up to the top where visitors are rewarded with sweeping views across the coastline. To protect the structure from harsh weather conditions, it’s been clad in ash that has been heat-treated to last up to 60 years without the need for paint, while the handrail has been coated in a robust matte black finish.

What may seem like a simple staircase has transformed such an important Danish landmark, with visitor numbers already doubling overnight. It’s a good example of impactful design, sensitively done, to help maintain and celebrate historic buildings a 21st-century landscape.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

close-ad
Edit article