In the harsh yet beautiful Arctic landscape surrounded by snow and ice, Dorte Mandrup has designed Ilulissat Icefjord Centre, highlighting the effects of climate change, on the edge of the UNESCO-protected Greenland wilderness. Overlooking the Kangia Icefjord on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, the building blends effortlessly into the landscape and offers a unique vantage point from which to experience the astonishing Icefjord and understand the dramatic consequences of climate change on this remarkable landscape. Designed as a year-round visitor centre and meeting place for local residents, companies, politicians, climate researchers and tourists, the centre will house exhibitions, a film theatre, a café and shop as well as research and educational facilities. It tells the story of ice, of humankind and evolution on both a local and global scale and relates to the history of time – sitting lightly on the Greenlandic bedrock – which is the oldest in the world.
▼轻盈地坐落在古老基岩上的伊卢利萨特冰峡湾中心，the Ilulissat Icefjord Centre sitting lightly on the old bedrock ©Adam Mørk
事务所的创始人兼创意总监Dorte Mandrup将建筑比作“雪鸮在风景中飞翔的姿态”，其流畅、轻盈的结构似乎漂浮在壮丽、崎岖的大地上——就像轻触基岩的伸展羽翼。建筑外形不仅勾勒出峡湾景观，而且避免产生积雪，在冰雪环境中建造出一处庇护所。Dorte Mandrup说：“冰峡湾中心在壮丽的景观中提供了庇护所，旨在成为自然聚点，你可以从中体验北极荒野的无边、非人尺度、黑暗与光明的过渡、午夜太阳以及在空中舞动的极光。”
Described by founder and creative director, Dorte Mandrup as “a snowy owl’s flight through the landscape”, the aerodynamic, light structure of the building appears to levitate over the magnificent, rugged terrain – like an outstretched wing gently touching the bedrock. The shape frames the views towards the fjord while preventing snow build-up and creating a shelter from the snow and freezing winds. “The Icefjord Centre offers a refuge in the dramatic landscape and aims to become a natural gathering point from which you can experience the infinite, non-human scale of the Arctic wilderness, the transition between darkness and light, the midnight sun, and the Northern lights dancing across the sky,” says Dorte Mandrup.
▼流畅的造型如同伸展的羽翼，the smooth shape is like an outstretched wing ©Adam Mørk
Shaped by extreme conditions
The unique arctic surroundings, outline the design of the Icefjord Centre. The complex structure of the building consists of 50 skeletal steel frames, creating a boomerang shape – almost resembling the remains of an animal lying on the rocky terrain. This aerodynamic shape prevents the build-up of snow, enabling the wind to swipe snow away from the facade. In the spring, when the snow melts, the melting water follows its original path underneath the building into the Sermermiut Lake.
▼冰川环境衬托出建筑轮廓，the glacier environment sets off the outline of the building ©Adam Mørk
The roof provides a natural extension of the area’s hiking routes, leading visitors onto one of the best look-out spots to see the massive icebergs in the fjord and the surrounding landscape. It Is created as a public space –a kind of gateway between the town of Ilulissat and the wilderness beyond. It is open to the public and free to access. At each end of the building there are also covered spaces, creating shelter, and gathering places.
▼屋顶向冰川延伸，the roof extends towards the glacier ©Adam Mørk
An important factor is that the building is as sustainable as possible. It is mainly constructed around a steel frame with the absolute minimum use of concrete – usually the main contributor to the carbon footprint – which also means the structure is extremely lightweight. The lightness of the structure makes the impact on the ancient bedrock and its fragile flora and fauna minimal.
▼轻盈的结构，the light structure ©Adam Mørk
The Story of Ice
Inside the centre, visitors can learn more about the nature and culture unfolding before their eyes. They can experience the journey of ice from the birth of the ice crystal in Greenland’s cold cloud layer, to when it becomes part of the inland ice and finally moves towards the glacier and breaks off in icebergs. Also, how different Inuit cultures lived under these harsh conditions and how climate change manifests itself in the Arctic landscape. The exhibition, designed by JAC Studios, consists of a landscape of ice flakes where archeological objects and films are exhibited in ice prisms of glass that visitors can move between. The ice prisms are created from ice blocks collected in the Kangia Ice Fjord, 3D scanned, and mouth blown in glass. Central to the exhibition are authentic ice core drillings taken from the ice sheet, they tell the story about our culture and climate from 124.000 years BC to the present.
▼展览空间，exhibition space ©Adam Mørk
Name: Ilulissat Icefjord Centre
Client: Realdania, Avannaata Kommunia and the government of Greeland (Naalakkersuisut)
Architect: Dorte Mandrup A/S
Landscape: Kristine Jensen. Landscape & Architecture
Engineer: Søren Jensen Rådgivende Ingeniørfirma A/S
Exhibition design: JAC Studios