Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter has won the international competition to design The Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat. According to the jury Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter’s proposal won because of its poetic, simple and visionary design, respecting the nature. The city is located in the UNESCO-protected area on the west coast in Greenland. The centre is a gathering point where local residents, businesses, climate researchers, climate debaters and global tourists meet in a dynamic learning and exhibition space.
Spectacular views of The Icefjord
The building is designed as an all encompassing framework, partly inside and partly outside that embraces all activities. The wooden framework, designed as a truss, bridges the rugged landscape.
It floats lightly above it, curving out over the edge of the Sermermiut Valley offering the spectacular, undisturbed view through the valley and to the icefjord. The framework is covered by a gently sloping, curved wooden boardwalk that becomes the starting point for the World Heritage Trail and at the same time acts as a gathering point, a viewing platform, and an informal seating area.
A unique experience through movement
Moving across the roof, like when hiking to reach the top of a hilltop, a visitor will meet the magnificent open view of the icefjord and overlook the route of the trail before walking on. The roof deck acts as a point of departure for local residents when going for a walk, a place to watch the sunset or gather in the evening sun. Moving through the building the geometry changes in section in a continuous flow.
The movement of the structure and form creates a constantly changing view that enhances the experience of the landscape by framing the fantastic viewpoints. The Icefjord and the connected area carry 4,000 years of cultural heritage and is essential for the understanding of climate changes. The Icefjord Centre will tell the story of ice, of human history and evolution globally as well as. For Greenland and Ilulissat, the Icefjord Centre will open for new opportunities to increase the already growing stream of tourists from all around the world.
According to the tourism strategy for Greenland, the centre is the first of five envisioned visitors’ centres, which together will take Greenland to a whole new level as a tourist destination. The idea is that the many nature experiences and cultural heritage narratives that Greenland has to offer will be communicated at several experience centres geographically across different regions in Greenland, inspired by centres such as the Norwegian Glacier Museum & Ulltveit-Moe Climate Centre in Fjærdal, Norway and the Thingvellir National Park in Iceland.
The Icefjord Centre will also serve as a gathering point and activity centre for the local community. Construction work will be managed by Realdania, and through its Realdania By & Byg subsidiary, will have the building ready for the first tourists, researchers and local visitors in 2020. Source by Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter.
- Location: Ilulissat, Greenland
- Architects: Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter
- Partners behind the Icefjord Centre: Qaasuitsup Municipality, Greenland Government, Realdania
- Year: 2016
- Video: Courtesy of Realdania
- Images: MIR, Courtesy of Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter
Article by Marco Rinaldi