Arbo's neoclassical park at Marienlyst
Gardens and parks are cultural monuments. In a museum's ownership and management, these are defined as cultural-historical objects that require even closer follow-up than buildings.
The parks have a historical form that springs from ideas about what a period architect's garden architects thought a park or a garden should look like. But parks follow the growth pattern of the seasons and nature. Trees, shrubs, lawns and flower beds therefore change throughout the year and over the years. And walkways and paths wear out of use. Large parks often have several style elements in the same facility.
At the Museum's main facility at Marienlyst, we see some of this. The park facing Konnerudgaten is a relatively freely shaped landscape park. The historic 18th century garden east of Gamle Marienlyst is symmetrical and shows, after garden archaeological research and re-establishment in 2009-2010, a formal walking garden, with gazebo, perennial beds and useful plants. It is framed by hedges. Hallingtunet is a village garden established in the city, with tree clusters and tuntra. Around the Lyche pavilion, there are typical 1980s and 90s plantings with rhododendrons and mistletoe hedges. Between Gamle Marienlyst and the Museumsbygningen is architect C .F. Arbo's neoclassical park, built after the museum building designed by the same architect was completed in 1930. The austere style is typical of the 1920s reaction to the romantic parks' winding paths and asymmetrical tree clusters.
The neoclassical park has been allowed to grow freely. The condition in 2014 before the re-establishment took place, showed an atmospheric, lush and partly overgrown park, with a simplified path system and unclear lines and markings between the various parts. It gave a peaceful, slightly romantic impression. That the park was once planted in this way was i.a. a consequence of the fact that two side wings had been drawn for the large museum building. Each of these was to form the end point for avenues that were to bind the new museum building to Gamle Marienlyst and frame the park. These side wings were never built. The avenues therefore became rams without their end points and the ideas behind the structure were not realized. During the construction of the Lyche pavilion in 1990 and the subsequent planting of a linden alley towards Danvikgata, a further shift away from the intentions and the original park form took place.
The original trail system was right-angled and more complex than it was after a simplification in the 1990s. The sources both at the drawing stage (idea stage) and what was laid out and planted are thus ambiguous. The museum's professionals have therefore studied the source material and made an interpretation that is as close to the neoclassical ideal as possible. What has now happened is that the original path system has been re-established and the ground drained. To prevent edge stitching from making the paths ever wider and corners not wearing out, steel edges have been set down to ensure a lasting shape. The lawns are elevated so that it is not invited to run and cycle across, but that the park form should be allowed to choreograph an earlier understanding of what it means to walk in a park. Movement and flowers, as fashion, painting and architecture, have their own style history. You walk slowly and walk at right angles in a classic facility. The park form has become precise again and has become an understandable cultural monument. The remains of the avenue along the Lyche pavilion have been removed and one row of trees replanted.
The neoclassical park at Marienlyst was in the summer of 2015 reborn as a classic facility. By drawing attention away from the avenue from Danvikgata, which made the museum a thoroughfare to and from the city center, the almost 250-year-old central axis from the gazebo to Gamle Marienlyst has now been reinforced, and again it is the parks, not the shortcut, that are set in focus.
Åsmund ThorkildsenMuseum director
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