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THE WHALE, NORWAY DORTE MANDRUP


Sitting 300 km north of the Arctic Circle, on the tip of the island of Andøya, is Andenes; a small town located amid dramatic landscapes. Just a few miles from shore is an area frequently visited by migrating whales. A new attraction, The Whale, designed by Dorte Mandrup, tells the story of the inhabitants of this underwater world, rising as a “soft hill” on the rocky shore.


The surrounding landscape is “essential for the shape of the building,” commented the architects; the form of the roof is defined by three high points on the site, and the foundation is influenced by the landscape beneath. The roof is covered with natural, unworked stones from the area, and large windows opening towards the archipelago reinforce the connection between landscape and building. Visitors and locals are invited to walk on the roof, for views of the archipelago, midnight sun or Northern Lights.


A single curved concrete shell makes up the roof; using this parabolic form, the structure effectively transmits forces to three support points in the corners of the building, making it possible to create a substantial space free of internal columns. Relatively long spans can be achieved while minimising material use, resulting in an economical and sustainable design. The minimal surface area, compared to floor area and volume, is favourable for both material and energy consumption. In addition the aerodynamic shape avoids any negative turbulence effects, and snow build-up will be minimised. Inside The Whale, a large space opens towards the mountains and the sea. A long horizontal view of the mountains and archipelago creates a “direct visual connection between the surroundings and the exhibition, which is underlined by the rocks entering the building in multiple places.” The exhibition will “curate a meeting between whale and human, nature and culture,” said the architects, and there are also offices, a cafe and a store. Around the attraction, a carefully planned web of paths, platforms and viewpoints highlight the landscape. A tidepool, campfire and stepping-stones “invite visitors to explore the surroundings in-depth and underline the connection between the building and the surrounding nature.”


ADF SEPTEMBER 2021


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


Images © Dorte Mandrup


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