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Norway is building an epic whale-watching museum in the Arctic Circle

The Whale will serve as both as an educational museum and an open-air viewpoint to survey migrating minkes, orcas and humpbacks

Huw Oliver
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Huw Oliver

Some 184 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the Norwegian island of Andøya is widely considered one of the world’s best whale-spotting locations.

In summer, pilot, minke and sperm whales fill the deep, cold waters off its coast. And during winter, orcas and humpbacks migrate through the fjörds of the surrounding Vesterälen archipelago.

That makes it the ideal spot for The Whale, a huge building that aims to ‘create awareness and inspire conservation of whales and their environment’ in the coastal village of Andenes.

The curved structure will serve both as an open-air viewpoint and an educational museum for visitors who wish to find out more about Norway’s rich marine life.

(It should be noted that Norway is, controversially, one of only a few countries worldwide still hunting and killing whales, with Andøya a major centre for the country’s whaling boats.)

The WhalePhotograph: MIR

Designed by Copenhagen-based architecture studio Dorte Mandrup, the curved structure will resemble a giant rock that ‘grows out of the landscape’ and ‘rises naturally as a soft hill on the rocky shore’, the firm said.

Visitors will be able to walk directly on to its sloping, stone-covered ‘shell’ to catch a glimpse of whales that flock here to feast on the area’s abundant squid.

The Whale will also house vast exhibition spaces, which are lined with floor-to-ceiling windows to allow for indoor whale-spotting, as well as a café and a shop.

In a normal year, around 50,000 tourists would head to Andøya to catch a glimpse of the whales. Come 2022 – when the museum is set to open – we wager many thousands more will join them.

Palace of Justice in BrasíliaPhotograph: MIR

More brilliant plans:

This eco-friendly observation tower could be coming to your city
Prague has turned old ice vaults into spaces for bars and restaurants
A former submarine base in France has been transformed into the world’s largest digital art space

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