Dorte Mandrup on the infinite scale of the arctic landscape

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For human beings, the freedom of infinite space is daunting. Environments like the Arctic offer the experience of being surrounded by endless space. Conditions here are tough. Extreme cold, wind, snow and ice are all normal features of daily life and if not prepared, existence is harsh. These extreme conditions are what we are faced with when working on the upcoming Icefjord Centre project in Greenland. It is this challenging climate and magnitude of space in the Arctic which has informed Dorte Mandrup’s interpretation of the over-all theme for the Biennale Architettura 2018, FREESPACE.

Watch Dorte Mandrup talk about creating a freespace in the infinite space that surrounds the Icefjord Centre.

"The body of work produced by Dorte Mandrup reflects many of the values expressed in the FREESPACE manifesto. The practice profile refers to “having a firm grasp on reality while dreaming out loud”. We see the work as a product of refreshing, creative thinking producing highly accomplished projects ranging from an Ikea warehouse to complex mixed use urban buildings and schools. Another seam of highly sensitive work is located in the landscape. Projects such as the Wadden Sea Centre built completely of thatch, and the Trilateral Wadden Sea Centre in Wilhelmshaven, built on top of an existing concrete bunker. This work shows the mastery of interpreting the given cultural, ecological and climatic conditions. Represented at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition is the extraordinary Icefjord Centre in Greenland. This is a project that deals with the most extreme challenges imaginable in terms of climate. Hence the title chosen by the architects – CONDITIONS. It is also a highly charged building in terms of its ambition and function. The historic significance of the location where “the Inuit people and Europeans (Norse) met”, combined with the making of a habitable place for social interaction within the “superpower of nature” has produced a project robust enough to sit lightly on the earth and to exert a singularly poetic presence" - Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Grafton Architects.