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Norway will soon have another architectural marvel … and it looks like a whale

The designs for the whale museum are already making waves in the architectural community and the building promises to be a major attraction in Northern Norway

If northern Norway’s Vesterålen Archipelago isn’t on your bucket list, the latest buzz in the architectural community might be enough to change your mind. A world-class whale museum (aptly named ‘The Whale’) is planned for the town of Andenes, 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle on the Norwegian island of Andøya. While the whales are the highlight, the design itself is something special, having beaten out 37 other teams as part of a competition that invited proposals from all around the globe.

Danish architecture studio Dorte Mandrup A/S was announced the winner of the international competition, after their pitch in collaboration with Marianne Levinsen Landskab and the consultants JAC Studios, Thornton Tomasetti, Nils Øien and Anders Kold blew the judges away.

“It is poetic and low-key and at the same time a very exciting and unusual building … with this fantastic proposal, we have what it takes to create a world class attraction,” said Børre Berglund, head of the jury for the competition.

Plans for the museum focus on blurring the lines between landscape and building, and creating something that not only fits into the landscape but rather, transcends it. According to the design, the building “rises naturally as a soft hill on the rocky shore as if a giant has lifted a thin layer of the crust of the earth and created a cavity underneath”. With Andøya already a fast-growing tourist destination, it’s predicted that The Whale project will bring in further visitors to the spectacular region.

Set to open in 2022, the museum will feature exhibition spaces packed with whale-related artefacts, a cafe and a store. Depending on the season, guests will have the opportunity to spot pilot, minke, sperm, humpback and killer whales from inside the museum through tall glass windows, as well as from the museum’s stone-covered roof, on which the public are free to walk (the roof will also be a fantastic spot for views of the mountains, and, if you can brave the winter cold, the Northern Lights).

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