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Architects imagine a new Greenland at Venice Biennale
Aug 28, 2012

The Danish contribution to the 13th International Architecture Exhibition or La Biennale di Venezia, which opens tomorrow, will feature proposals by Danish and Greenlandic architects to reimagine "Possible Greenland". Proposals include a sustainable new arctic building practice based on Greenlandic values, traditions and opportunities, and a Greenlandic city designed to serve tourists and migrating mineworkers while maintaining its identity. It is one of 55 national pavillions on view throughout the city that runs through November.
“Possible Greenland is an exhibition which seeks to show how architecture in its broadest meaning can contribute to the development of society in Greenland. 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,” says Kent Martinussen, Managing Director of the Danish Architecture Centre and Commissioner of the Danish pavilion.
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 in 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 the Greenlandic society and also be an invitation to the rest of the world to contribute to a sustainable development of Greenland. "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", explains Minik Rosing.
The exhibition at the Danish Pavillion provides a spectacular experience of ’Greenlandicness’ through models, images, visualizations, text, film and artifacts. 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.
The Danish Architecture Centre, led by Kent Martinussen, has been chosen by the Danish Ministry of Culture to be commissioner for the Danish pavilion. Possible Greenland is financed by The Danish Ministry of Culture, The Danish Arts Foundation, Realdania, Shell, Royal Arctic Line, Rambøll, Dreyers Foundation, Queen Margrethe’s and Prince Henrik’s Foundation, Danmarks Nationalbanks Anniversary Foundation, Colorgruppen, Vink Plast and Neschen.
The Possible Greenland projects include:
Greenland Connecting: Team: Tegnestuen Nuuk, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (Julie Edel Hardenberg, Inuk Silis Høegh)

Greenland Inhabiting: Team: Clement & Carlsen Architects, Qarsoq Tegnestue, Tegnestuen Vandkunsten

Greenland Migrating: Team: KITAA Architects, David Garcia Studio, Henning Larsen Architects


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