Dorte Mandrup: The UNESCO-Protected Area Of Greenland

The curving Ilulissat Icefjord Centre, designed by Danish architect Dorte Mandrup, was completed on a rough terrain in the UNESCO-protected area on Greenland’s west coast. The Ilulissat Icefjord Centre was created as a new meeting place for local residents, businesses, climate researchers, climate debaters, and international tourists, all of whom would meet in a dynamic learning and exhibition space in the harsh yet beautiful Arctic landscape surrounded by snow and ice.

The Dorte Mandrup And It’s Natural Blend Into Landscape

Dorte Mandrup unveils plans for climate centre in Greenland

Mandrup’s project, which overlooks the Kangia Icefjord on Greenland’s west coast, 250 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, blends seamlessly into the landscape and provides a unique vantage point from which to experience the amazing Icefjord and understand the dramatic effects of climate change on this remarkable landscape.


“A snowy owl’s flight through the terrain,” said Dorte Mandrup, the project’s founder and creative director. The visitor centre has an aerodynamic and light structure that appears to levitate above the spectacular, rough terrain, resembling an outstretched wing gently caressing the rocks. The structure’s curved design frames views of the fjord while minimising snow accumulation and providing shelter from the snow and freezing winds.

 The Story Of Ice, Humankind And Evolution

Dorte Mandrup unveils plans for climate centre in Greenland

The roof serves as a natural extension of the area’s hiking trails, delivering tourists to one of the best vantage points for seeing the fjord’s gigantic icebergs and the surrounding scenery.


When the first rays of light appear on the horizon after six weeks of darkness in January, the community gathers in this spot for 40 minutes to celebrate the sun rising before departing. The hope is that this big meeting will take place on the roof.

The building was designed by Mandrop to be as environmentally friendly as feasible. The centre was mostly built on a steel frame with minimal concrete use – the structure was meant to have the smallest carbon footprint possible – the facility is incredibly lightweight thanks to its steel frame.


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