Greenland Migrating / Henning Larsen Architects

Greenland Migrating / Henning Larsen Architects
Greenland Migrating / Illustration Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

We’ve already introduced you to the Danish Pavilion exhibition Possible Greenland, on display at the 2012 Venice Biennale, featuring possibilities that lay in store for Greenland in light of geographic changes caused by the increased rate of ice and snow melt. Henning Larsen Architects has now shared with us their portion of the exhibit, Greenland Migrating, a project developed in collaboration with David Garcia Studio and KITAA Architects. Curating the exhibit are Danish-Greenlandic Professor in geology Minik Rosing and Copenhagen-based NORD Architects.

Join us after the break for a closer look at the project.

Drawing from the cultural heritage of “interconnectedness” that is a large part of Greenland’s history and survival,  the architects propose a series of programs that functionally and politically inspire migration to Greenland.  It is an effort consistent with the proposals of Possible Greenland which projects that melting glacial will expose natural resources that will require a larger workforce and new urban developments.

Politically, Greenland hopes to open borders and create an atmosphere that will attract a skilled workforce and “brainpower”.  Looking to both foreigners and native inhabitants, Greenland Migrating is a master plan with various components that will provide meeting and gathering spaces for community building, housing, educational resources and entertainment complexes.

Greenland Migrating / Illustration Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

The video describes the master plan and shares a case study of the town of Ilulissat, which inherited the Qullissat settlement population after the demise of the mining industry. The overall plan hopes to capitalize on the increased density as well as use people as a resource for growth and economic stability. In the four interventions that make up the master plan, the architects hope to introduce a more cohesive version of the town and provide for those populations disrupted by previous economic instability.

Greenland Migrating - Existing condition / Illustration Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

1.  Cultural Centre

Greenland Migrating / Illustration Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

The Cultural Centre will establish a meeting ground between local culture and tourism, which is economically essential to Ilulissat.  It is designed as a multi-purpose facility near an existing school and integrated into a nursing home that will give citizens a meeting place for local events, engage tourists with exhibition spaces and provide a library.  The architects hope that this environment will breed cross-cultural and cross-generational engagement among visitors.

2. Inhabiting the Harbor

Greenland Migrating / Illustration Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Housing is a top priority in Greenland; waiting lists run as a long as five years in Ilulissat alone.  Temporary housing is on the agenda for this design to attract young people as the town expects to grow.  The architects propose to use the harbour, closely linked to the sea, as a market that will also have established temporary housing that is integrated into the plaza and the harbour edge – a perfect way to introduce new settlers to the culture of Greenland.  A new population also has the potential to enliven this area, deemed as “forgotten”.

3. Glacial Hub

Greenland Migrating / Illustration Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Greenland lacks in higher education programs.  Many who leave to pursue their studies do not come back.  To attract a young and educated population, the architects propose a new meeting hub on the Ilulissat Ice Fjord (a world heritage site) that will house spaces for a new Faculty of Glacial Studies, a UNESCO office and tourist information.  With a program unique to Ilulissat, the facility can attract an group for very specific studies.

4. Sports Plaza

Greenland Migrating / Illustration Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Ilulisssat has a strong tradition of outdoor sports, but harsh climatic conditions require indoor facilities, which currently are overcrowded.  The architects propose a sports plaza on the location of the existing outdoor football field and sports hall that shares one of the main streets in Ilulissat.  The new facility would have a flexible cover that allows activities to take place year-round.  The street will transform into an arena for a range of sports events, including the annual sled dog face.  Placing community events on the street at the heart of the town brings together local tradition with chance encounters of new visitors.

Greenland Migrating will be part of Possible Greenland at the Danish Pavilion at the 13th Annual Venice Biennale.  The exhibit opened on Aug 29th and will be on view through November 25th.

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Cite: Irina Vinnitskaya. "Greenland Migrating / Henning Larsen Architects" 03 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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