''A Building that Should Address our own Fragility'' says Dorte Mandrup in conversation with Louisiana Channel, in regards to her recent work, the Ilulissat Icefjord Center, in Greenland. An exhibition house in its own right, this powerful filmography explores the surrounding environment, offering insight into the changes seen on the ice and the harmonious relationship between the structure itself and the glacial landscape.
Dorte Mandrup was interviewed by Marc-Christopher Wagner in her studio in the Spring of 2021. Regarded as Humanist, Mandrup has been heavily influenced by medicine, sculpture and ceramics, creating engaging and evocative architectural form. As part of her philanthropic work the center is set to tell a narrative of evolution, human history and the secrets of the ice.
Perched upon the Arctic landscape, the Icefjord Center is located in a part of the world where climate change is most evident. In this thought-provoking interview, Mandrup expresses that as a structure that should very much be understood in regards to the topography, the fragility of the building itself is symbolic, as if to say we humans will not be here forever. It addresses sustainability in every sense, exhibiting climate change within; a reflection of the changes visible in the outside terrain and predominantly utilizes wood as a sustainable material.
The Icefjord Centre is created in wood to be as sustainable as possible but also to create a contrast to the millions of years of the bedrock. It’s a small building with great symbolic meaning.- Dorte Mandrup
She proclaims that hikers may find shelter in this refuge, allowing the visitor to view the landscape from this vantage point before they venture through this illusive gate and into the vast and unforgiving wilderness. It presents a powerful message to the viewer that in fact, we as humans are very small-scale in comparison to the primordial bedrock.
It’s a building from a different era. The Greenlandic bedrock is one of the oldest in the world. The Icefjord Center soars like a boomerang or a snowy owl over the landscape. We created a place with overhangs towards the west and east, so you can find shelter in the arctic landscape. It creates its own landscape, its own place as a roof that becomes a hill or a public space or a gate between the town of Ilulissat and the vast landscape. – Dorte Mandrup
Renowned Danish Architect Dorte Mandrup graduated from the Aarhaus School of Architecture in Denmark, 1991. As the director of Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter in Copenhagen, she is internationally acclaimed for many reputable works including The Whale on the island of Andøya, Norway. A viewing platform designed to mimic the appearance of a whale, allowing visitors to ascend and survey the mountains, sea and the Northern Lights. Known for her analytical approach to architecture and her harmonious relationship with topography, she has received multiple awards including the Eckersberg Medal and the Finn Juhl Architecture Award.
To see more architecture videos, check ArchDaily's full coverage of Louisiana Channel's series of interviews.
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