Just 300km north of the Arctic circle lies the rugged island of Andoya. There, in the city of Andenes, the Whale Building will be built. This new site will be a major attraction for Norway, and will let visitors see migrating whales up close.
The northwestern shore of Andoya has a striking geography—both above and below the water. Here, the water is 1,000 meters deep and is both dark and cold. It’s also home to squid, which is the preferred mean for sperm whales. Some 50,000 visitors come each year to Andenes to watch the migration of these ocean mammals. Danish architecture firm Dorte Mandrup won the competition to designate who would design the building. For their vision of what could be, the firm designed the Whale Building to allow visitors to take in the spectacle the whale migration more fully. “It rises naturally as a soft hill on the rocky shore as if a giant has lifted a thin layer of the crust of the earth and created a cavity underneath,” says the description of the Whale Building. “Visitors and locals are invited up to walk on the roof and have an unspoiled view at the ocean, the mountains, the midnight sun, or the Northern Lights dancing on the sky.”
The building’s curved roof is covered in stones, making it look like a cobbled street, but also helping it to blend in with the landscape. Inside, the building will have exhibition spaces, offices, a café, and a store. There will also be displays that tell the sperm whale story. “It is poetic and low-key and at the same time a very exciting and unusual building. With this fantastic proposal, we have what it takes to create a world class attraction,” said Borre Berglund, CEO of The Whale AS and the head of the jury that ran the architectural competition. The Whale Building is expected to open in 2022.