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Hanne Kjærholm - Extensions

Hanne Kjærholm was born 24 May 1930 in Hjørring. In 1953, she married the furniture designer Poul Kjærholm. She graduated from Kunstakademiets arkitektskole (the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture) in Copenhagen in 1956 and started her own studio in 1958, which she ran single-handed until her death in 2009.

Hanne Kjærholm’s production is small, but remarkable. Very deliberately, she settled on a modern expression based on tradition. In 1962, she designed their own house on the coast by Rungsted which, today, is counted among the main design works in Danish architecture: a simple, modernistic house in the tradition of Mies van der Rohe. The house is tight, symmetrical, and constructivist in its modern classicism where architecture and the furniture by Poul Kjærholm constitute a whole.

In 1976, she won the competition for a museum complex in Holstebro. Her entry was a pavilion-like construction integrated into the existing park surrounding a villa dating from 1906 and built by Andreas Clemmensen for the tobacco manufacturer Søren Færch. From 1967 the villa housed Holstebro Kunstmuseum. The museum complex was built by stages. The main entrance of the complex is in the Villa.

Stage one of the complex was a wing for Holstebro Kunstmuseum inaugurated 11 May 1981. Subsequently, Holstebro Museum (town museum) was inaugurated in 1991, differing from the art museum part of the complex in only minor details. From 2005 Hanne Kjærholm worked with the plans for a new wing to the art museum, which she managed to complete before she died. In the Færch Wing, inaugurated 26 February 2011, the basic elements are combined in new ways, and motifs from the 1981-building have been developed further giving the extension its own unique character.

A general feature of Hanne Kjærholm’s architecture is a brilliant interpretation of the play of daylight and its spatial qualities. She designed all the various parts of the building herself, blending the buildings and the furnishings into a harmonious whole. Her buildings are well-proportioned and characterised by simplicity with regard to both architecture and choice of materials indicating that Hanne Kjærholm not only found her inspiration in the international modernism, but also from Japanese architecture and the philosophy behind it.

This is reflected very poetically in a summer house on Læsø (Danish island), 1985-87, which seems saturated with serenity, as well as in later projects: an idea for an art museum in Sønderho on Fanø in 1988, Filosofgangen in Odense 1993-94, the furnishing of a café, cloakroom etc. at Kunstindustrimuseet (Design Museum Denmark) 1992-95 as well as the renovation and alterations of the multistorey town house, Løvenborg, in 2002. In addition to this, she designed a series of holiday houses and all-year dwellings in Denmark and Spain. During her career, she designed 20 buildings in total. Hanne Kjærholm arranged a series of exhibitions such as the retrospective exhibitions about Poul Kjærholm at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and, later on, in Japan.

In several ways, Hanne Kjærholm was instrumental in breaking down barriers for woman architects. As one of only few women, she had her own studio and worked as an architect. Furthermore, she had a long career as a teacher at the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. A career culminating in 1989 when she becomes the first woman professor of architecture. During her professorship, Hanne Kjærholm emphasised working method and responsibility and did not adhere to a certain philosophy. She strove for an equal distribution of men and women amongst the teaching staff and fought to ensure that woman architects were increasingly made use of. She took part in several international congresses for woman architects – e.g. in Iran.
Architect Hanne Kjærholm (1930-2009)

Hanne Kjærholm - ciriculum vita
(in Danish)
Hanne Kjærholm - buildings and exhibitions (in Danish)