Danish Architecture Center

Ice Fjord Centre in Ilulissat

Culture

 

Even though last summer was alarmingly warm by Danish standards, climate change seems big and abstract. But in Ilulissat it is very concrete. Here you can clearly see the ice melting.

Ilulissat is Greenland’s main tourist destination, on the west coast of Greenland, near Disko Bay, 250 km north of the polar circle. The town is situated near the mouth of the icefjord, which is a key part of Greenland’s inland ice cap. This UNESCO World Heritage landscape is created by the inland ice, glaciers and the majestic ice shelf, and here you can see the effects of climate change up close as you watch the inland ice cap melt.

In spring 2019, construction will begin on the Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat, designed by Dorte Mandrup. The Icefjord Centre is expected to be completed in 2021, when it will serve as an information center – telling the history of the ice while shaping the debate about the local and global effects of climate change.  

The structure is designed with great respect for the surrounding landscape, and the fundamental vision for the Icefjord Centre is to have as little impact on the fragile landscape as possible.

“The Icefjord Centre in Greenland holds a special place in my heart – it is a once-in-a-lifetime design project for us. You have to show a degree of humility when you place a structure in such spectacular natural surroundings for the purpose of informing about something as important as climate change.” – Dorte Mandrup

Did you know …

  • The inland ice cap is currently losing 250 to 300 gigatons a year (1 gigaton equals 1 billion tons).
  • One gigaton can fill 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
  • The icefjord is the first area in Greenland, and one of the first in the Arctic, to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The icefjord was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2004.
  • Since 2004, Greenland has actively worked to preserve the area’s virtues – for example, large ships are no longer permitted to sail into the icefjord.

 

Area

Ilulissat, Grønland -en

Architect

Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter

Client

Den grønlandske regering
Qaasuitsup Kommunia
Realdania

Built

2021
 

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