The Greenland National Art Gallery has an unbeatable, stunning location with dramatic views that link together
the cultural history and modern day with the breathtaking grandeur of the nation’s natural assets.
This proposal makes the National Art Gallery a colourful, inviting outpost as well as a new home for art on
Greenland. The new building will be the focal point of the festival grounds and the dynamic sculpture park
To create genuine vitality in the building and between its many activities, the facilities with different functions are
placed close to each other, all surrounding the central stairway and the two-storey high hall rising up from the
exhibition room on the ground floor. The stairs and hall link together the Special Exhibits and other activities on
the ground floor, with the Collections upstairs. This compact arrangement has economic and logistical
advantages, but even more importantly, it creates a dynamism and an informal atmosphere. Even movements up
and down the stairs offer a richness of variation with a charming cabinet halfway up featuring watercolours by
Aron from Kangeq and Jens Kreutzmann from Kangaamiut.
Accessibility is important, and the National Gallery will have low thresholds and generous open exhibition areas
for the Special Exhibits in the facade by the entrance. Movable walls at the full height of the room make it easy
to divide up the Special Exhibits for multiple exhibitions.
The exhibitions are all set up so that the viewer’s back is to the breathtaking natural scenery, allowing full
appreciation of the works of art. However, the north hall has a wide section of windows that tie the museum’s
interior to the vista down towards the old Colonial Harbour. The X Room, next to the loading bay in the Special
Exhibits, has a floor that can be lowered so that the room is on the lower level, in direct contact with the
workshops and the lower lobby.
The exhibitions closest to the entrance are always changing, with the goal of making the National Art Gallery a
place of spatial dynamics and technical opportunities. The Auditorium and Graphic Arts Workshop are located
on the lower level, right next to the lower sculpture terrace by the Guest Studios.
On the upper level, staff offices are side by side with the Collections, which are arranged around the hall that
unites them with the ground floor. The hall is surrounded by three large top-lit exhibition rooms, which are
surrounded with groups of smaller rooms and cabinets with space for very small or especially valuable objects.
Enticingly and somewhat mysteriously positioned, as if in an attic, the open warehouse is right at the top of the
building. Next to it is the Y Room, which features the building’s grandest view and is just the place for groups to
All this means that the atmosphere of the National Gallery will be robust and playful, and its central staircase
tying the whole building together also calls to mind the elegance of a fancy home. The overall character of the
building is thus not institutional or spectacular, but homelike, with all the variation offered by a home – everyday
and party, concentration and diversion -
”... it’s not a house, it’s a home ...” (Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding 1968)
The character of the building.
The colourful, practically naive open space in the building is enticing and easily accessible. The exterior is
primarily defined by the variation between the red and white sections of the facade.
The facade is just as varied as it is colourful: Made of sturdy in-situ concrete (the white made with white cement
and titaniaum dioxide-white pigment, the red painted with red iron dioxide pigment), the facade slabs are
moulded in cupped shapes, giving the building a unique surface reminiscent of classical fluted pillars.
The touches of colour in the facade also have many meanings. The character of the building combines the clarity
of sea beacons and flags with the many ways artists have worked with flat surfaces through the ages. Artists of
the 21st century include Paul Klee, Malevich, Johannes Itten and of course Pop Art.
Possibilities of the location.
The site today is characterised by a combination of newly excavated earth and an ancient landscape shaped by
ice. The excavated soil has created a flat plateau that we propose developing into a festival grounds and
sculpture park that can host activites such as snow sculpture festivals, temporary exhibitions or even visiting
circuses. The grounds function as an extension of the road. A large, freely shaped part of the grounds will be
paved with white concrete and can serve as a sculptural exhibition area. Six light masts surround the area,
where they can also serve as stands and scaffolds for events.
The new building is located at the base of Tuapannguit, where it turns to face the view and the horizon. The
entrance facade meets the edge of the plateau, stretches over the steep drop-off and touches down safely on
solid bedrock. An outdoor staircase from the entrance level takes visitors to a sunken courtyard facing south-
west, intended as a joint outdoor workplace for the artist workshops, exhibition area and outdoor café. Individual
steps in the terrain guide the eye along future walkways along the water, leading up to the entrance again.
What’s left of the drop-off will be maintained and developed. As Robert Smithson shows in his Asphalt
Rundown, we feel that the chance effects of the elements can shape the rock face in interesting ways. The
asphalt surface on the plateau will flow over the edge and transition into sparse vegetation seeded in the
pockets of the fallen debris. As a part of the creation of the museum, we propose that the place where
Tuapannguit flows into the sea at the cliff face be used as a project site for works and installations to herald the
coming museum. We suggest initiating a situational action right away, bringing the work of Robert Smithson into
the present. The action will be a Seed Rundown – a lorry full of a blend of seeds is tipped over the drop-off at a
specific time. A symbolic and low-cost demonstration of beautiful things to come.
Possible expansion of the gallery is suggested in the southeast corner of the competition-area. A low and
elongated building frames the site and limits the space towards Radiofjeldet. The extension is reached through
the lower floor via the the light rooms towards the sculpture terrace which will convert to gallery. The siteplan
shows an expansion with two floors, totally 1000sqm.