This Whale Watching Museum Has an Amazingly Apt Design


whale watching museum norway
From the direction of the sea, the museum will resemble the flukes of a whale diving into the ocean. Image credit: MIR

Scandinavian architecture is all about becoming one with nature, and this new marine-inspired museum set to be built in Norway is no exception.

Designed by Copenhagen-based architecture studio Dorte Mandrup, “The Whale” is expected to open in 2022. The curved structure will resemble the flukes (or tail fin) of a whale in the form of a giant rock rising from the shores of Andøya, a northern Norwegian island that is considered one of the world’s best places to spot migrating whales.

whale watching museum norway
The design plans for the museum in Andenes, Norway, intend to underline the connection between the site and its surrounding Norwegian landscape. Image credit: MIR

Dubbed “the Whale,” the design-forward structure will serve as a coastal viewpoint and an educational museum for visitors seeking out the area’s abundant marine wildlife.

Because of the island’s location about 184 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the surrounding cold, deep waters attract abundant squid, which in turn draw large numbers of whales to the areas offshore.

whale watching museum norway
The Whale’s stone-covered rooftop, and also its whale-spotting platform, will consist of a single, parabolic concrete “shell”, the curved shape of which will minimize the building’s overall material use as part of an effort to maintain a sustainable design for the structure. Visitors will be able to walk directly onto the rooftop from the ground areas on either side of the sloped platform. Image credit: MIR

It’s possible to spot pilot, minke, and sperm whales near Andenes from June to August, and during winter, orcas and humpback whales migrate through the fjords of Vesterålen as well as through the Lofoten archipelago, located just to the south.

The coastal village welcomes around 50,000 visitors each year for its world-class whale-watching opportunities.

whale watching museum norway
The Whale’s exhibition spaces will be lined with floor-to-ceiling windows that look over the Norwegian Sea. Image credit: MIR

whale watching museum norway
Dorte Mandrup’s concept for the Whale was selected in November 2019 as part of an international design competition. It beat out entries by 37 other teams, including renowned architecture studios such as BIG and Snøhetta. Image credit: MIR

As striking as The Whale may look, it will fit right in with the country’s growing collection of architecturally striking buildings. We definitely can’t wait for the opening in 2022!

Sources: 1, 2

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