Herb Pavilion

The French inspired Thurah’s Baroque Garden of Gl. Holtegaard, a renowned art gallery for contemporary and modern art outside Copenhagen created in the 18th century by the architect and royal building master Lauritz de Thurah, will host a temporary orangery-themed pavilion.

How to provide a modern interpretation of the orangery, originally a tempered greenhouse built to shelter citrus trees from the harsh winter frosts? How can a light-weight, modest sized, low cost and maintenance free pavilion match the monumental symbols of prestige and wealth as known from Louvre and Versailles?

In the past, orangeries were a symbol of the elite, wealthy enough to have their own exotic private gardens which could be grown and looked after during winter time, and put outdoors during summer to further the splendour of the gardens. To enable moving the trees back and forth, building and planting used to be separated, and trees were grown in boxes.

Could we conceive a less elitist and more democratic version of the orangery?


What if we integrated building and planting? This would enable us to provide a maintenance-free structure open to the public regardless season and weather. The new pavilion could be used for both growing and exhibiting plants, events as well as for informal meeting. This multiuse quality would turn the pavilion into an attractive and truly democratic destination!


By choosing an industrial low-cost product as the basic element for the pavilion, a rational structure suitable for display of planting in all kinds of weather can be easily achieved based on modular repetition.

The pavilion is constructed by joining a number of standard PVC water pipes. The light weight, low cost, and low maintenance of the PVC make it attractive as a basic structural element. The pipes can be reused at the end of the 3 year usage period, so the entire pavilion is recyclable. In the same time, the pipes allow for rainwater passing through, thereby enabling plant exhibitions both inside and outside.


The Baroque was a style of unity, rich detail, dramatic lighting and intense emotions achieved through a bold play of volume and void. How to convey this intensity in a modern way?

By joining PVC pipes corresponding to the max envelope, a ‘plastic volume’ emerges as a modern variant of the classic marble block.

By carving out the block according to a baroque composition of elliptical shapes, openings for access and views can be created as a secondary system of axis inscribed in the overall axial garden composition. A continuous sequence of spaces emerges, outlined by the sumptuous decoration of the rich diversity of oval sections of the cylinder pipe components.

The sense of ‘deformation’ of the structure and spatial continuity echoes the ‘infinity labyrinth’ of the surrounding gardens, while providing an intense all-year-round experience corresponding to the baroque sensibility for spectacle, illusion and dynamic movement.

All-senses garden

By replacing the delicate orange trees with sturdy baroque herbs, a robust baroque seasonal herb garden is created. The hardy herbs require no maintenance, and the open structure of the pavilion secures both light and irrigation water.

Plants are placed in pots, which in turn are fitted into the various cylinder sections both inside and outside to create a fragrant, beautiful and edible garden which speaks to all the senses.

Client: Gl. Holtegaard

Project support: Danish Architects' Association, Danish Arts Foundation

Program: Temporary pavilion, part of Thurah's Baroque Garden

Year: 2015

Location: Gl. Holtegaard, Denmark

Team: Serban Cornea, Kristina Jordt Adsersen, Henrik Ulsfort, Marcin Kruk

Status: Competition