A Striking New Whale-Watching Center Is Underway in Norway
“Right here on the edge of the ocean, we will be making a mark in a magnificent and ancient landscape.”
—project architect Dorte Mandrup, in a statement
IMAGES COURTESY OF DORTE MANDRUP A/S
Andenes, Norway is poised to become a worldwide whale-watching destination—and not just because it's located near a migration path for the mammals. There's also going to be a spectacular new structure.
Dorte Mandrup's winning design mimics the surrounding landscape, appearing as a giant rock outcrop emerging from the coast and evoking a whale's tail. The parabolic roof offers visitors panoramic views of both the sea and surrounding landscapes. To ensure the building's longevity, project plans call for stone and other materials that will withstand the cold, humidity and salt spray of the environment. Sourcing materials locally is intended to limit the project's overall carbon footprint.
Both engineering and aesthetics are impressive: The uniquely shaped roof touches the ground at three corners of the building, creating a large, column-free interior that reduces material needs. The airy, 48,400-square-foot (4,500-square-meter) interior will feature full-glass walls facing the sea for whale-watching, as well as exhibition space, offices, a cafe and a shop. Rocks that might be disturbed during the project's construction phase will be embedded throughout the center's floors, visible to visitors. The project is slated to be completed in 2022.
Competition requirements limited the total project budget to US$17.9 million.
The museum is expected to boost tourism to the remote village, which already draws 50,000 whale watchers annually.