Ilulissat Icefjord Park

Greenland 2015-16

A visit to Ilulissat Icefjord is an encounter with an immense natural phenomenon that changes our perspective on the relationships between nature, humanity, and climate. While the fjord can only be experienced from a distance, the proposed Ilulissat Icefjord Park helps make the experience comprehensible to visitors by offering them a scale for contemplating what they have seen.

Ilulissat Icefjord Park is a centre that inhabits the landscape in the form of a park. The diverse programme of the park is distributed throughout the terrain, anchored in two distinctive buildings: the Sun Cone, housing the visitor centre, and the Ice Void, containing the exhibition space. Both are connected by a 360-degree outdoor path called the Circle Walk.

Ilulissat Icefjord Park uses the melting of ice to shape the space. Studio Other Spaces has created a unique design strategy wherein ice is at once the formwork of a concrete structure and the focal point of the resulting space. Naturally-calved icebergs are harvested directly from the nearby fjord to create the Ice Void exhibition building, which harbours in its walls the memory of the ice that was used to shape it.

Along with the Ice Void, and linked to it by the Circle Walk, the Sun Cone building defines Ilulissat Icefjord Park. The 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 tremendous scale of the fjord, which is not easy to reconcile with our usual concepts of space and nature, is visible from within the Sun Cone while made graspable by the programme of the park.

Client: Government of Greenland, Qaasuitsup Municipality and Realdania
Location: Ilulissat, Greenland
Date: 2015–16
Collaborators: Transsolar, Bollinger+Grohmann, TNT Nuuk
Awards: competition finalist