Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter comes first against top architects

Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter has won the renowned global competition to design ‘The Icefjord Centre’ in Ilulissat which is expected to open autumn 2020. The city is situated in the UNESCO-protected area on the west coast in picturesque Greenland and the centre is used as a gathering point where local residents, businesses, climate researchers, climate debaters and global tourists meet in a dynamic learning and exhibition space.

Words by Lauren Beeching

The Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat will attract tourists to Greenland and will educate guests understanding of climate change. Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter, the only Danish participant in the international contest against strong competition from top architects such as Snøhetta, Sebastian Behmann, Arkís Architects, Kengo Kuma and Associates and Rintala Eggertsson Architects. According to the jury Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter's proposal won because of its poetic, simple and visionary design, which strongly respects the nature of the UNESCO-protected area.

Greenland Fjord

The building itself 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.


Moving across the roof, which gives guests the similar feeling of hiking to reach the top of a hilltop, will grant the guests the magnificent open view of the icefjord. The roof deck is designed to act as a point of pure relaxation for local residents when going for a walk and a place to watch the sunset or take in the evening sun. The Icefjord area which was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 carries 4,000 years of cultural heritage and is essential when it comes to understanding climate change. The Icefjord Centre will tell visitors the story of ice, human history and evolution in both a local and global sense.


Images from Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter

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