Greenland’s new National Gallery by BIG

Located on a steep slope overlooking the most beautiful of Greenland’s fjords, the 3000 m2 National Gallery will serve as a cultural and architectural icon for the people of Greenland. The new museum will combine historical and contemporary art of the country in one dynamic institution The winning proposal was selected by a unanimous museum board among 6 proposals, including Norwegian Snøhetta, Finnish Heikkinen‐Komonen, Islandic Studio Granda and Greenlandic Tegnestuen Nuuk.

“The Board has a clear vision: to work for the establishment of an internationally oriented highly professional institution that communicates the continuous project of documenting and developing the Greenlandic national identity through art and culture. Our dream is a national gallery where historic and contemporary art meets circumpolar pieces, Nordic and world art in general. Our dream is an institution that stimulates our curiosity, awake our excitement with its thought‐provoking design and where we all feel at home. Selecting a prominent architect as BIG, I am sure that our chances of realizing that dream are good”, Tuusi Josef Motzfeldt, Greenland’s National Gallery of Art.

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.

“The Danish functionalistic architecture in Nuuk 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, just like life in Greenland is a symbiosis of the nature. 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”, Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Partner, BIG.

The slope opens up the sculpture garden towards the city and the view, framing both the sculpture garden and museum functions. 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 building will with its simplistic coarseness and harmony with the landscape become a symbol of the current independent Greenlandic artistic and architectural expression.”, Andreas Klok Pedersen, Partner & Project Leader, BIG.

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 degree 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. The new gallery will create more activity at the waterfront by attracting the whole area is interconnected by a path which like the museum, forms after the shifting inclinations of the terrain. 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.

“Greenland National Gallery for Art will play a significant role for the citizens of Greenland and the inhabitants of Nuuk as a cultural, social, political, urban and architectural focal point that opens towards the city and the world through its perfect circular geometry and shape”, Bjarke Ingels, Stifter & Partner, BIG.

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Tags: art, big, greenland’s new national, national gallery

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