Talented artists and architects competed for the honor of designing the new Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat, Greenland. The Danish architectural group Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter presented an elegantly curving building design which won the competition. However, another one of the finalists, the entry by Studio Other Spaces, founded by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann, was nothing short of spectacular itself.
Studio Other Spaces says, “The Ilulissat Icefjord Park uses the melting of ice to shape space. Studio Other Spaces has created a unique design strategy where ice is at once the formwork of a concrete structure and the focal point of the resulting space. For the Ilulissat Icefjord Park, Studio Other Spaces uses naturally calved icebergs harvested directly from the nearby ice fjord to create an exhibition building, called the Ice Void, which harbours in its walls the memory of the ice that was used to shape it. Together with the Ice Void, and linked to it outdoors by a 360-degree path, the Sun Cone building defines the Icefjord Park. The light glass structure of the Sun Cone positions the visitor centre directly in the landscape and offers guests a spectacular panoramic view of the surroundings and the Arctic sun. The park helps make the overwhelming experience of visiting the ice fjord comprehensible – providing visitors with a scale for contemplating and relating to the awe-inspiring ice fjord.”
In 2004, 4000 square kilometers of the Ilulissat Icefjord was declared a Word Heritage site because of its unique geology and natural beauty.