Unique Arctic attraction granted funding
The Whale by Dorte Mandrup moves nearer to completion
A unique Arctic attraction allowing visitors to explore the lives of whales has moved one step closer to completion, with funding secured from the 2024 Norwegian state budget. Designed by Tenderstream member Dorte Mandrup, The Whale will be constructed in Andenes on the island of Andøya, 300 km north of the Arctic Circle. A deep sea valley a few nautical miles offshore is frequently visited by migrating whales, making Andenes one of the best places in the world to see this fabled animal up-close.
The Whale will tell the story of the big inhabitants of this underwater world, featuring exhibition spaces, offices, a café and shop. The surrounding landscape was a key influence on the building’s design, with the roof’s form defined by three high points on the site, and its surface covered with natural, unworked stones. The roof will create a new viewpoint, from which visitors and locals can look out over the archipelago, watching the midnight sun’s reflection in the ocean or the northern lights dancing over the sky.
The roof is made from a single curved concrete shell in a parabolic form that transmits the forces to three support points at the building's corners, enabling the construction of a large column-free room inside. The long spans minimise material use, resulting in an economical and sustainable design, while providing a minimal surface area favourable for energy consumption. The aerodynamic shape also helps to prevent negative turbulence effects, as well as slowing snow build-up.
Inside The Whale, a large space opens towards the mountains and the sea in order to create a visual connection between the landscape and the exhibition, underlined by the rocks entering the building in multiple places. Around the attraction, a carefully planned web of paths, platforms and viewpoints further highlights the landscape, with the inclusion of stepping stones, a campfire, and a tidepool inviting visitors to explore their surroundings.