Architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is in the winning team to design the new National Gallery of Greenland in the country’s capital Nuuk, among invited proposals totaling six Nordic architects.
In the winning team, BIG will work with TNT Nuuk, Ramboll Nuuk and Arkitekti.
Located on a steep slope overlooking the most beautiful of Greenland’s fjords, the 3km² National Gallery will combine historical and contemporary art of the country in one dynamic institution.
The winning proposal was selected by a unanimous museum board out of six proposals, including Norwegian Snøhetta, Finnish Heikkinen-Komonen, Islandic Studio Granda and Greenlandic Tegnestuen Nuuk.
As a projection of a geometrically perfect circle on to the steep slope, the new gallery is conceived as a courtyard building that combines a pure geometrical layout with a sensitive adaption to the landscape.
The three-dimensional imprint of the landscape creates a protective ring around the museum’s focal point − the sculpture garden where visitors, personnel, exhibition merge with culture and nature, inside and outside.
BIG founder and partner Bjarke Ingels said the design was a reaction to the Danish functionalistic architecture of Nuuk, which he said is typically square boxes which ignore the “unique nature of Greenland”.
“We therefore propose a national gallery which is both physically and visually in harmony with the dramatic nature [of Greenland],” he said.
“We have created a simple, functional and symbolic shape, where the perfect circle is supplied by the local topography which creates a unique hybrid between the abstract shape and the specific location.”
A rough looking external façade of white concrete will patina over time and adjust to the local weather, while the circular inner glass façade will consist of a simple and refined frame which contrasts the rough nature and compliments the beautiful view.
The circular shape of the gallery enables a flexible division of the exhibition into different shapes and sizes, creating a unique framework for the museum’s art.
Visitor access to the exhibition happens through a covered opening created by a slight lift in the façade into a lobby with a 180° panorama view towards the sculpture garden and the fjord as well as access to the common museum functions, including ticket counters, wardrobe, boutique and a café.
BIG said the locals and visitors will be able to admire the clear shape of the gallery which appears “as a sculpture or a piece of land-art”.
“Our dream is an institution that stimulates our curiosity, awakes our excitement with its thought-provoking design and [is] where we all feel at home,” said Greenland’s National Gallery of Art spokesman Tuusi Josef Motzfeldt.
“Selecting as prominent [an] architect as BIG, I am sure that our chances of realizing that dream are good.”