Postcard from Ilulissat #3: The Icefjord Centre rises

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It is now more than a year ago we gathered for the topping-out ceremony in Ilulissat, Greenland. Winter, spring and summer have past, temperatures are again dropping far below zero and soon almost all you will hear is the howling from the Greenland Dogs through the silence of the snowy terrain. The construction of our new visitor centre is moving into its final stages and the boomerang-shaped building is now indeed rising from the rough landscape.

"The outer glass, steel and wooden surfaces are almost complete. The fascia edges are fifty percent finished and the wooden panels will soon be applied to the ceiling. When you travel to the site these days it is incredible to experience first-hand how the twisted geometry of the roof will become an extension of the World Heritage Trail that runs through this magnificent landscape," says Jacob Juel, Constructing Architect at Dorte Mandrup.

The boomerang superstructure is formed by steel frames and the modeling of these frames has been a challenging task. Shaped to blend naturally in with the pattern of the surrounding glacier the structure shift from acute-angled triangles in each end to a rectangular shape in the middle – like the remains of an animal lying on the rocky terrain.



Learning from the ice

In the end of March the 900m2 exhibition room will be taken over by the exhibition designers from JAC Studios. The exhibition will be organized in three paths with one common thread – ice. When finished, experiencing the exhibition in close relationship to the astonishing landscape outside, will hopefully engage and inspire visitors to study and learn from the stories of the Ilulissat Icefjord.

When summer returns to the fjord and Semermiut Valley the work will come to an end. Here in the middle of the Icefjord, where the icebergs are breaking away from glaciers, we can learn of the history of mankind, ice, evolution and climate change and experience the impressive panoramic view of the Ilulissat Icefjord and the ice cap from The Icefjord Centre. 

Photos: Rambøll & KJ Greenland.

The Icefjord Centre is funded by a partnership between Realdania, the Government of Greenland, and Avannaata Municipality and is one out of five Dorte Mandrup projects on UNESCO protected sites.

The other four count the Wadden Sea Centre in Ribe, the Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre in Groningen, the Trilateral Wadden Sea World Heritage Partnership Centre in Wilhelmshaven, and the Karlskrona Culture House and Library in Karlskrona.