The Danish architecture firm Dorte Mandrup A/S won the international competition to design “The Whale”, a new touristic attraction for northern Norway, that will tell the stories of the majestic sea creature through art, science, and architecture.
Located on a plot 300km north of the Arctic Circle, on the island of Andøya, a small town of 2600 citizens, which happens to be one of the best places in the world for whale watching, the cultural building is expected to strengthen northern Norway’s status as a travel destination.
Launched in spring 2019, the competition for the new arctic attraction gathered applications from 37 international teams. Dorte Mandrup A/S, specialized in cultural buildings, landmarks, transformations of listed buildings, and interventions in sensitive landscapes, was first qualified with finalists BIG, Snohetta and Reiulf Ramstad Architects, before winning the contest.
Choosing a winner of the architectural competition has been a major challenge because we had several proposals of very high quality. However, the project from Dorte Mandrup is a clear winner and meets the competition criteria in the best way. It is poetic and low-key and at the same time a very exciting and unusual building. We look forward to working with Dorte Mandrup to realize the Whale in Andenes. With this fantastic proposal, we have what it takes to create a world-class attraction. – Børre Berglund, CEO of The Whale AS and head of the jury of the architectural competition.
Created for a unique landscape, “The Whale” was designed as an extension of the natural site, rising physically like a hill and creating cavities underneath. Thought as an experience in itself, the building offers diverse perceptions. The Danish architecture studio imagined a parabolic shaped roof, directly inspired by the surrounding. The curved roof, covered with stones, mimics even the natural envelope of the land. Blending with the context, the building also enhances the setting through the introduction of a complementary function. “The Whale”, expected to open by 2022, will host exhibition spaces, offices, a café, and a store.
Located this far North, Andøya is a unique place and The Whale an extraordinary project. Not only will we 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, […] Right here on the edge of the ocean, we will be making a mark in a magnificent and ancient landscape. This opportunity comes with great responsibility, which is extremely motivating and inspiring. – Dorte Mandrup, Founder and creative director of Dorte Mandrup A/S.
- Project name: The Whale
- Client: The Whale AS
- Typology: Cultural Building
- Location: Andenes, Norway
- Gross floor area: 4500 m²
- Completion: Expected 2022
- Architect: Dorte Mandrup A/S
- Landscape Architect: Marianne Levinsen Landskab
- Exhibition Design: JAC Studio
- Engineering: Thornton Tomasetti
- Art Consultant: Anders Kold
- Whale researcher: Nils Øien