Sustainable – The ice is melting in Greenland, and the water level is rising in the Wadden Sea. These fragile landscapes are home to Dorte Mandrup’s ‘sensible’ architectures. The Danish Architecture Center (DAC) has inaugurated the Irreplaceable landscapes exhibition dedicated to four projects in UNESCO-protected World Heritage sites.
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“Our hope is to convey the important message to understand, respect, and protect these environments in order to shape a sustainable future.” Explains Dorte Mandrup to Archipanic. “There is a reason why some places are designated as world heritage sites, and we want to emphasize this, by showcasing how to induce sensitive landscapes through architecture.”
On show her three Wadden Sea centres across Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands as well as the Icefjord Center in Greenland. Visitors can experience the fragile nature and architecture of these particular places on their own body.
Walk or lie on the large straw roof in the central room; the straw scent hits the nostrils before the stinging sensation can be felt under the feet or through the clothes. All around, projections show the Nordic Sea landscape with streams of black starlets flying in formation across the horizon while the sound of birds and waves can heard the background.
This is exactly what you would feel by the Wadden Sea, the world’s largest cohesive tidal area crossing Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany, and an important destination for the 10-12 million migratory birds passing by each year.
Here, Mandrup has completed three Wadden Sea Centres tuning with the surrounding environment and architectural heritage. For the Danish building the walls and the roof have been covered in straw in order to blend with the landscape.
The three sea centres are all located in the same UNESCO protected site. “When you work in such landscapes, a responsibility follows, but also an opportunity to convey a unique cultural history through the architecture, that enhances the understanding and experience of the place’s character.”
Get a taste of the spectacular and dramatic Greenlandic landscape through a comprehensive total installation with both projections, sound and an abstract model of the Icefjord Center, which has previously been shown at the Venice Biennale in 2018. Get mesmerized by the dramatic colour changes of the sky and hear the glacier crack.
The Ilulissat Icefjord Center is located 250 km north of the Arctic Circle in Greenland. The the boomerang-shaped building in wood is shaped after the wind and the snow and resembles “a snow owl’s flight through the landscape”.
The exhibition celebrates the 20th anniversary of Dorte Mandrup’s studio. “Her poetic work is about what is bigger and much older than us humans.” Says Kent Martinussen, CEO of Danish Architecture Center. “She gathers the sky, the sea and the horizon in one point, where architecture and nature go together.”
All photos by R. Hjortshoj unless indicated otherwise – courtesy of the Danish Architecture Center.