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Visions of Greenland appear in Venice

— August 2012

Associated media

Kitaa Architects, David Garcia Studio and Henning Larsen Architects have created four architectural meeting points with great flexibility in the town of Ilulissat

Danish and Greenlandic architects are creating visionary ideas for the future of Greenland

A new combined super harbour and international airport located outside Nuuk. A sustainable new arctic building practice based on Greenlandic values, traditions and opportunities. A Greenlandic city designed to serve tourists and migrating mineworkers while maintaining its own identity. These are some of the proposals teams of Danish and Greenlandic architects have created as part of ‘Possible Greenland’, the official Danish contribution to the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, which opens 29 August  2012.

The International Architecture Exhibition in Venice is the world’s most important and most prestigious exhibition of architecture, urban planning and construction. This year will feature 55 national pavilions with exhibitions staged in the historic pavilions and streets of Venice. The British architect David Chipperfield is head curator for the main exhibition at the 13. International Architecture Exhibition, which, with its 66 projects created by architects, engineers, artists and students from around the world, focuses on the theme: Common Ground.

Kent Martinussen, Managing Director of the Danish Architecture Centre and Commissioner of the Danish pavilion explains that:

Possible Greenland’ is an exhibition which seeks to show how architecture in its broadest meaning can contribute to the development of society in Greenland. You could say that ‘Possible Greenland’ shows the vision described in all the reports written in Greenland over the past few years. We show what new housing could look like, how to rethink the airport, harbour and infrastructure of tomorrow, and what the new town cultures in Greenland could be like. All this are intended as input to a constructive debate rooted in the Greenlandic society

 Greenland becomes the centre of attention

There will be much to debate as Greenland comes to terms with its new geopolitical position. Chinese businesses are queuing up to discover mineral deposits, the multinational oil companies are already drilling and new shipping routes will bring the world’s maritime traffic through Greenland’s territorial waters. The 56,000 inhabitants of the world’s largest island have only recently gained their independence, and the close ties to Denmark should be loosened in some areas -- and maybe reinforced in others. 

The exhibition’s Head Curator and internationally renowned Danish-Greenlandic professor of geology, Minik Rosing, has in cooperation with co-curator NORD Architects Copenhagen, worked together with six teams of architects, engineers, planners and ethnologists from Denmark and Greenland. They have created a series of scenarios which can contribute to a wider debate in Greenlandic society and also be an invitation to the rest of the world to contribute to a sustainable development of Greenland. Minik Rosing explained:

Greenland has so much to offer the globalized world – it is not just a repository of untapped mineral resources waiting to be exploited. Greenland is itself a complex reality, and in the future there will be many visitors who will be needing people with inside knowledge of the country. These pre-existing qualities, which I call Greenlandishness, will be much in demand in the future

The exhibition at the Danish Pavilion provides a spectacular experience of ’Greenlandicness’ through models, images, visualizations, text, film and artefacts. In different scenarios of the future representing central perspectives, ‘Possible Greenland’ explores the main challenges and opportunities Greenland is facing. Visitors will also be able to experience a Greenlandic home, created by the Greenlandic artist Bolatta Silis-Høegh, and come face to face with the rugged and spectacular Greenlandic nature and a piece of the history of the earth in the form of a stone some 3,800,000,000 years old.

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