The Whale Next Traction Pole of Norway
Architecture enthusiasts and nature lovers can look forward to the new year when a dramatic architectural expression can be seen on the Norwegian island of Andøya, celebrating the surrounding landscape and the residents of the water. The Danish architect Dorte Mandrup’s whale is set to become a “world-class attraction celebrating whales and their relationship with humans through science and art” in 2022.
In the small town of Andenes, three hundred kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, at the extreme tip of the Norwegian island of Andøya, there is a small population in which Mandrup’s The Whale will find its dramatic home – a place where the stark beauty of the ocean and rocky shores pose an undeniable challenge to any construction, let alone an enormous undulating parabolic shape that is designed to house showrooms, cafes, shops, and adjacent offices under their stone-roofed roofline. Andøya was specifically chosen for its proximity to a deep-sea valley frequently visited by whales migrating off the coast, and gave visitors the intimate opportunity to observe marine mammals in their natural environment.
In spring 2019, The Whale AS invited architecture firms to design a new attraction for the island of Andøya in Northern Norway. In the end, she opted for the design by Dorte Mandrup because she appreciates both the riverside and the marine ecosystem in their parabolic structure, which is supposed to dissolve the boundaries between landscape and building.
Located in this far north, Andøya is a unique place and The Whale is an extraordinary project. Not only will we create architecture in another remarkable landscape, we will also help improve understanding of whales and conservation of marine life. Here on the edge of the ocean, we will set an example in a beautiful and ancient landscape. This opportunity brings with it a great responsibility, which is extremely motivating and inspiring.
– Dorte Mandrup
The other designs by contestants are similarly interesting in their attempts to combine a monumental exhibition space with an even larger monumental landscape, but Mandrup’s flowing and growing proposal deservedly won to maintain a sense of place unique to the Arctic landscape.