Illulissat Icejford Park is a centre that inhabits the landscape in the form of a park.
Every so often, we witness out-of-the-box architecture and the brains behind such structures that render us speechless. The sheer ideologies and thought processes that evoke such unequalled and unique constructions are mind-boggling. One such firm that is a mélange of art and architecture is Studio Other Spaces. Established by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behman, SOS has been imperative in breaking the stereotypical architectural structures.
One such structure that has grown out of this collaboration of art and architecture is The Illulissat Icefjord Park which is a centre that inhabits the landscape in the form of a park. The diverse programme of the park is scattered throughout the terrain, anchored in two distinctive buildings; the Sun Cone which houses the visitor centre and the Ice Void which contains the exhibition space.
Both are connected by a 360-degree outdoor path called the Circle Walk. SOS has created a unique design strategy wherein the ice is the formwork of a concrete structure and the focal point of the resulting space. For the park, naturally calved icebergs are harvested directly from the nearby fjord to create the Ice Void exhibition building, which harbours the memory of the ice that was used to shape it within its walls. The park craftily uses the melting of ice to shape the space. How clever is that?!
Along with the Ice Void and linked to it by the Circle Walk, the Sun Cone building defines the Illulisat Icefjord Park. The glass structure of the Sun Cone positions the visitor centre directly in the landscape and offers the visitors a spectacular panoramic view of the surroundings. The tremendous scale of the fjord is visible from the Sun Cone while made graspable by the program of the park.
A visit to fjord is an encounter with an immense natural phenomenon that changes one’s perspective on the relationships between humanity, climate and nature. The park only makes this experience comprehensible by offering visitors a scale for contemplating what they have seen.
Text by Neerja Kapadia