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Dorte Mandrup’s Aerodynamic Whale Museum Rising In the Arctic Circle

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Visualized as a tantalizing parabolic shell resembling the colossal rise of a whale streaming aerodynamically over the ocean waves. Danish architect Dorte Mandrup’s ‘The Whale’ is an upcoming masterpiece set near the village of Andenes on the northern island of Andøya, Norway. Encrusted as a cultural museum to celebrate and observe the whales and underwater wildlife.

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The Artic location is remarkable for being the most frequently visited by the fabled animal, during its migration period. And the new vision embarks to unfold the story of the present-day largest salient inhabitants on our planet.

The Copenhagen based architecture studio Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter has rocked shores on an enthralling landscape to reveal their architectural vision blending to capture the drama that engulfs about the stunning land. Mountainous and marshy areas have given rise to a humbling grand concept casting a thin layer that imitates to softly lift from the earth’s crust, creating a cavity and setting itself as a cultural landmark.

Science, art and architecture have seeped into its depths to carve the extraordinary project. The designers seek to seamlessly dive into the nearby drama while also being an aid to appreciate and prosper the life of whales and preserving marine life.

The design has a poetic charm that reminisces on a whale’s tale and behaviour, the museum adapts to its surroundings instead of delineating, it dissolves the borders. The visitors can embrace to catch spectacular views while walking atop the stone covered roof. The parabolic covering is self-supporting, laid in grey roughly worked natural stones, which will merge into the landscape.

A layer of oxide and moss grows overtime on the roof, thus merging it into the scene. The parametric structure efficiently transmits the forces to the corners, which makes it possible to envisage a vast column less space. The sleek aerodynamic form cuts the turbulence effects and cancels massive snow build-up.

An intriguing layout of paths, walkways, platforms and viewpoints compose the whole environment and landscape. Large windows in the interior frame the stunning blue hues of the archipelago. The glint of sun reflecting across the sea, streams into the massive halls cueing an emotional depth. The interiors comprise of exhibition spaces, offices, a café and a store. The museum houses a tidepool, a campfire and steeping stones which invite visitors to discover their man-made and natural surroundings.

Upon entry, the massive open foyer moves into the café towards the north of the building and exhibition spaces set around the south. Inspired by a whale’s journey, the open floor plan emotes the splendour along with a curved wall drafting dynamism through varying sizes and shapes of rooms.

Rocks are sculpted into the structure, invoking a natural connection with the landscape. The whale’s universe is showcased in the exhibition space using architecture, terrain, acoustics, ceilings and floors in a mesmerizing synthesis to narrate the tales of the beautiful creature.

The Whale Museum is expected to open its doors in 2022. The partly submerged structure enhances the ambience and complements the nearshore region, and unites the waterfront location and Mandrup’s purpose to protect, educate and cherish the marine world.

Project: The Whale
Location: Andenes, Norway
Architect: Dorte Mandrup A/S
Expected Completion Year: 2022
Gross Floor Area: 4,500 Sqm
Landscape Architect: Marianne Levinsen Landskab
Exhibition Design: Jac Studios
Engineering: Thornton Tomasetti
Art Consultant: Anders Kold
Whale Researcher: Nils Øien

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