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BUILDING
 
 
Katuaq
Cultural Centre of Greenland
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DESIGNER
 
 
Schmidt Hammer Lassen
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CONTEXT
 
Location
Katuaq, Cultural Centre of Greenland, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Nuuk, Greenland
Relationship with the location
Katuaq, Cultural Centre of Greenland, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Nuuk, Greenland
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DESCRIPTION
 
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Katuaq, Cultural Centre of Greenland, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Nuuk, GreenlandInspired by Greenland’s dramatic scenery of icebergs, snowfields and mountains, the main element of the building is sheathed by a floating, undulating screen of golden larch wood. This second skin lends the scheme an elegant airiness, creating a contrast with the solid form of the core building. The screen acts as an architectural metaphor for the Northern Lights, whereas the dark and massive form of the main building is reminiscent of the icy mountains of Greenland.

Katuaq, Cultural Centre of Greenland, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Nuuk, GreenlandDaylight streams into the large foyer through roof lights and narrow oblong glass slits in the external screen. The foyer serves as an indoor public piazza for the city and is divided into separate areas by three free-standing geometric structures housing the main facilities of the Cultural Centre: a square box for the television studio, a triangular structure for the café and a circular form for the multi-purpose auditorium which has seating for 550 people and can also be used as a cinema or a concert or conference hall. The Cultural Centre of Greenland in Nuuk is a dynamic meeting place for Inuits from all over the northern hemisphere.
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Katuaq, Cultural Centre of Greenland, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Nuuk, Greenland
2017 | Katuaq Cultural Centre of Greenland in Nuuk celebrates its 20th anniversary
Katuaq, Cultural Centre of Greenland, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Nuuk, GreenlandThe Katuaq Cultural Centre of Greenland in Nuuk celebrates its 20th anniversary. When opened in 1997 the building provided for the first time a cultural and artistic meeting place for both locals, the international Inuit community and visitors from all over the world. Built to last and survive Greenland's unforgiving climate, the cultural centre still stands today as a dynamic meeting point catering for a diversity of activities from concerts, cinema, theatre performances, conferences, exhibitions to public events.

Katuaq, Cultural Centre of Greenland, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Nuuk, GreenlandIn 1992 Schmidt Hammer Lassen won the international design competition ahead of 226 proposals, with a concept inspired by the dramatic Greenlandic landscape of winding fjords moving glaciers, icebergs and in winter the inspiring, undulating northern lights.

Katuaq Cultural Centre reflects these elements: the surging, bright, timber-clad façade, with its luminous skylight symbolizes the northern lights - the triangular, monolithic dark body of the building represents the iceberg - the interior bright, white foyer space with its independent volumes of theatre, cinema and café reminiscence the spatiality of the fjords and mountains, snow and ice. With its organic, natural, appearance the building hit directly into the soul of the Greenlandic people and it has managed to gather Greenlanders from all age groups and interests bringing a sense of ownership that reaches deep into society even today, 20 years later.

"Winning the competition to design the Cultural Centre in Greenland was a major breakthrough for our studio as our first project on an international scale. It spearheaded our architectural ambition to create cultural buildings with a strong sense of place and a space that acts as a meeting place for people," says Founding Partner Morten Schmidt. "The challenge of constructing a sustainable building that could withstand the arctic climate conditions also brought us new knowledge about which materials we should use".

Since its opening Katuaq has been a popular space embraced by not just its capital citizens but Greenlanders from all parts of the country. The annual visitor number of 100,000 (Greenland has a population of approx. 56,500) is reflecting the dynamic activity and cultural programme of the centre but also the fact, that these events are regularly broadcast from the TV studio designed for the building. Bringing the Inuit culture to every home, the Katuaq building has become an icon for the Greenlandic community and beyond, spreading as far as Canada, Alaska and Russia.
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Katuaq, Cultural Centre of Greenland, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Nuuk, Greenland
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LOCATION
 
Continent
North America
Nation
Greenland [Kalaallit Nunaat/Grønland]
Municipality
Sermersooq
Town
Nuuk
Address
Imaneq 21
 
 
Telephone
+299.36.37.70
Website
E-mail
reception@katuaq.gl
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MAP
 
 
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TYPOLOGY
 
Main
ARCHITECTURE
Buildings for cultural activities
Cultural centres and community centres
Additional
ARCHITECTURE
Buildings for cultural activities
Conference halls
Education buildings
Academies
Residential buildings
Other residential buildings
Commercial buildings
Bars, cafeterias
Buildings for means of information and communication
Radio-television studios and buildings for telecommunications firms
Buildings for recreational activities
Auditoriums and music centres
Theatres
Cinemas
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CHRONOLOGY
 
Project
1992 - 1993     project winner of limited competiton
Realisation
1994 - 1997
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AWARDS
 
1999
Eckersberg Medal
1998
Nykredits Arkitekturpris
1998
Statens Kunstfonds Pris
1997
Selected Buildings Award
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BIBILIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES
 
 
"Give recognition" in schmidt hammer lassen architects (ed.), Give more, Aedes, Berlin 2012, pp. 68-75
"Greenland: Centre Culturel Groenland-Katuaq / Greenland: Cultural Centre in Nuuk", Architecture méditerranéenne 61, décembre/december 2004, pp. 90-92
"Schmidt Hammer & Lassen, Katuaq, Nuuk, Greenland. Culture centre", UME 17, 2004, pp. 26-31
Schmidt Hammer & Lassen, "Architects' statement", UME 17, 2004, p. 26 (26-31)
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CLIENT
 
 
Nordic Council of Ministers
Greenland’s Home Rule
Nuuk Municipality
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AMOUNT
 
 
DKK 90,000,000
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DIMENSIONAL
DATA
 
Surface
sq.m. 4,780
Capacity
auditorium 550 seats
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STRUCTURES
 
 
NIRAS (Abrahamsen & Nielsen)
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LANDSCAPE DESIGN
 
 
Schmidt Hammer & Lassen
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STAFF
 
Project
Schmidt Hammer & Lassen
Design team
Morten Schmidt, Bjarne Hammer, John Lassen, Kim Holst Jensen, Mette Nygård, Esben H. Nielsen, Soren Schmidt
Construction management
Rambøll A/S
Systems
Rambøll A/S
Supervision
Tegnestuen Nuuk
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CREDITS
 
 
Photos © Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects
Drawings © Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects
Text edited by Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects
Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects

Katuaq, Cultural Centre of Greenland, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Nuuk, Greenland



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