Arctic – 300 km North of the Arctic Circle, on the tip of the island Andøya, Norway, lies the small town of Andenes, one of the the best whale watching spots on the planet. Here – amid dramatic landscapes, both above and below the ocean’s surface – Dorte Mandrup Architects will create THE WHALE museum, which will be “rising as a soft hill on the rocky shore, as if a giant had lifted a thin layer of the crust of the earth and created a cavity underneath”.
Known for seamlessly blending architecture with the breathtaking wilderness of Arctic landscapes the Danish studio has conceived a building that resembles the back of a whale emerging from the sea and, from a distance, the animal’s tail.
“Not only we’ll be creating architecture in yet another remarkable landscape, but we will also take part in increasing the understanding of whales and preservation of marine life,” says Founder and Creative Director, Dorte Mandrup.
The curved roof will be covered with stones that naturally patinate and underline the connection between the Norwegian landscape and the building. “As with the Wadden Sea Centre in Ribe and the Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat, we have designed a building which doesn’t simply fit into the landscape – it enhances its character and adds a complementary element”.
The parabolic form of the roof is defined by three high points on the site, and the foundation is informed by the landscape beneath it. Here, a 4.500 sqm exhibition space will allow visitors to whale watch from inside the building. Large windows that open toward the archipelago will create a visual connection between the exhibition spaces and the vast natural surroundings.
The project will also house offices, a café and a store. Expected to open in 2022, THE WHALE was developed in collaboration with Marianne Levinsen Landskab and consultants JAC Studio, Thornton Tomasetti, Niels Øien and Anders Kold.
All images by MIR – Courtesy of Dorte Mandrup Architects.