Irreplaceable Landscapes, an exhibition of Dorte Mandrup’s architecture

Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter,

Rasmus Hjortshoij, Espen Grønli, MIR.no, Adam Mørk,




The current exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre leads visitors to discover the architecture of Dorte Mandrup, one of the most important contemporary Danish architects. Architecture that seems to be shaped by unique natural landscapes, because some of Dorte Mandrup’s most famous works are in areas such as the Wadden Sea in Denmark, or the Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Irreplaceable Landscapes, an exhibition of Dorte Mandrup’s architecture

When considering the format of an architecture exhibition, we are aware that we must create a display of sorts, as what is exhibited to the public is certainly not “architecture”, but rather a representation of it through photographs or drawings. The third dimension, an essential feature of this art, but more importantly the spatial experience that comes from visiting and experiencing an architecture can only be suggested and imagined. Models and virtual reality provide important information about the space itself, but how can one convey an idea of the landscape that surrounds the architecture? How can you allow visitors to truly, fully understand the fragilities, the material and chromatic relationship of the architecture in the context it has been created in, the subtle shifts in colour over the course of the day and through the seasons?
Perhaps it is to answer questions like these by giving visitors an unforgettable experience that architect Dorte Madrup and the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC) transformed the most important gallery in the Danish capital into a dreamlike landscape for “Irreplaceable Landscapes – An Architecture Exhibition by Dorte Mandrup”. The exhibition also has the dual purpose of celebrating the firm’s twentieth anniversary.

Visitors to the DAC are welcomed by an evocative and immersive set containing the stories of four works by architect Dorte Mandrup, carefully selected for their links to the fragile landscapes of the Wadden Sea in Denmark and the Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland, both part of the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List.
The exhibition offers an insight into how architecture is shaped by the unique natural landscapes around it, also touching upon the difficulties encountered when designing for fragile sites which are threatened by climate change.
When speaking about the works on show, the architect Dorte Mandrup explained how in her designs, the location and shape of a building are intended to emphasise its natural surroundings. An operation which gives rise to an important responsibility, especially when working in areas that are established World Heritage Sites, but also the opportunity to convey a unique cultural history, which improves the understanding and experience of the place, through the architecture itself.
One such example is the three centres created in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany for the Wadden Sea National Park, a one-of-a-kind national park which extends into the territories of three countries and represents one of the most important coastal areas in the world.

Dorte Mandrup took into account a message shared by all three centres: the cultural and natural significance of the Wadden Sea National Park, but did so with architectures which differed appropriately in terms of shape and materials, according to the specific features of each location. The Wadden Sea Centre in Ribe, Denmark, for example, is a lake nature reserve which is essential to over 10 million migratory birds which pass through it every year. Its large roof and façades made from reeds typical of the marshy area allow it to blend into the swampy landscape that surrounds it. The Wadden Sea Centres in the Netherlands and Germany, meanwhile, are made from completely different materials, because the former is set in an industrial port, and the latter in a WWII-era bunker.

(Agnese Bifulco)

Title: Irreplaceable Landscapes – An Architecture Exhibition by Dorte Mandrup
Date: March 22 – May 26 2019
Location: Danish Architecture Centre, dac.dk
Address: Bryghuspladsen 10 1473 København K Denmark

Irreplaceable Landscapes is presented by the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC) in association with Dorte Mandrup. Realdania supports the exhibition.

Images courtesy of DAC, photo by Espen Grønli, MIR, Adam Mørk, Rasmus Hjortshøj


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