Jens Buch-Dohrmann's profile

Transformation of DK's longest wooden building (thesis)

At the foot of Jutland's rolling hills, where Denmark's longest river runs into a lake, here lies Klostermølle and Denmark's longest wooden building.

My thesis project "Vandringer i et hus" (wanderings in a house), is about the transformation of the old paper drying barn at Klostermølle. A 95 meter long structure with a facade that opens to let the wind through and dry the paper which used to hang inside. The building lies on the bank of Gudenåen and is surrounded by forests, hills, a river delta and the aforementioned lake. Today the paper drying barn is closed to the public and largely hidden from view by tall trees. This project seeks to open the building to the public and through various interventions to allow access to specific views and spatial qualities both inside the building and out towards the landscape.

To open the building as an equal part of the trekking routes along the Gudenå River. Telling the story of the industrial era and the life along the river, as well as giving a rich atmospheric experience of the fantastic interior space.
The name Klostermølle, which means "Monastery Mill", comes from the 1.5 km long canal that benedictine monks dug in the 10th century to harness the river's power to run a mill. Whereas the monastery is long gone, the canal and the power of the river that the monks harnessed shaped the areas development for the following 800 years. All the way through to the industrial age where the mill was converted to turbines and used to run a paper factory. It was only because of a fire in 1974, which burned down the majority of the factory's production buildings, that the area was turned into a recreational area. Almost miraculously the 95 meter long wooden building was one of the few unaffected by the fire.
A network of walking and bicycle routes span the entire length of the Gudenå River, but at Klostermølle the course of the path diverges from the river and takes you around the river delta - away from the lake. This project suggests going through Klostermølle and the paper drying barn itself, along the lake and further on towards Silkeborg.
Today the area is owned by the Danish state and the unique natural surroundings, as well as the buildings themselves are listed and protected. Since the fire in 1974 there has been a continued effort to open the area up to the public, and my thesis project should be seen in this context.

The paper drying barn is by far the most architecturally significant building on the site. Just in terms of sheer size, I see the opening of this building as the catalyst for the continued development of the rest of the site.
The photos show the great potential of experiences both inside and outside the building. 

The Paper drying barn is connected to the rest of the old factory area by narrow tracks. Doors along these tracks will be opened and visitors will be able to follow the narrative of goods moving through the factory in a new way. The video below takes you along the river and through the buildings along the new suggested route.
A thorough registration and analysis of the building and the elements that make up it's structure was instrumental in determining which qualities and details had to be highlighted, in order to open up the building's narrative to the public.
The three repeated elements of the building:
The facade with the hatches that open, and create a fantastic light and sound situation inside. The structure which gives the building shape, but also because of it's repetition divides the space into narrow 'views' and last but not least the paper clamps, which held the paper and was the interface between the workers, the building and ultimately the force of nature - the wind.
The transformation builds on three basic strategic principles. One - to take the building back to it's original functionally determined shape (long tall and narrow, to let the wind through), by removing obstructing additions. Two - to open the doors in each end and let the visitors walk through the building as a part of the movement through the landscape. Three - to make interventions in the building allowing visitors to access views and details in the building as well as out toward the landscape.
Upon entering the building, the first of the three interventions allows you to move up and experience how the space in the upper levels used to be, with the paper and the clamps as the main shapers of space and views.
At the other end of the building a stairway takes the visitor all the way to the ceiling and allows views through the building and towards the landscape on the way.
The thesis paper can be read in full below (in danish)
Transformation of DK's longest wooden building (thesis)


Transformation of DK's longest wooden building (thesis)

Transformation of Denmarks longest wooden building - the old paper drying building. A 95 meter long structure with a facade that opens to let the Read More