The Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat is essential for a contemporary understanding of the Arctic climate

30 September 2019

The Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat, located in the UNESCO-protected area on the west coast of Greenland, is an all-encompassing meeting place for locals and global tourists. Because of the Arctic climate conditions, the construction process is considered a complex undertaking.

Jan C. H. Nielsen

Construction Manager
T: (+299) 324088

By Katrine Raaberg Funder

The Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat, Northern Greenland, is designed to accommodate a number of diverse activities. It is a gathering point where locals, businesses, climate researchers, climate debaters, and tourists meet in a dynamic, social, and learning space. 

The centre is characterised by a gently sloping, curved wooding boardwalk that marks that starting point of the World Heritage Walk overlooking the Icefjord. Inside the centre, visitors are met by a service hub, a café, a cinema, a shop, an exhibition area, and research facilities, including an outdoor classroom for schoolchildren. 

The building is created by more than 50 individually shaped steel frames each of 8 tonnes, and it is expected to be completed in 2021. 

Complex construction process

According to Construction Manager Jan Nielsen the construction process may be considered a complex undertaking because of the Arctic climate conditions. 

“One of the major challenges that we have encountered during the construction process, is that the permafrost is thawing due to the rising temperatures. As a result, we have had to dig deeper foundations. At times, up to seven and eight meters into the mountainside. 

When working in Greenland you need to be one step ahead. The building materials are imported and shipped to Greenland every half year and the harsh climate during winter may force us to put the construction on hold for shorter periods, “says Jan Nielsen 

Consequences of climate change 

The Arctic is feeling the effects of global warming more than any other place in the world. Global warming causes the ice to retreat, disrupting the landscape and the way of life in the icy wilderness. 

The Icefjord Centre is designed to mediate the effects of global warming to residents and global tourists and start debate on the impact of climate change.

Ramboll in Greenland

Ramboll Ingeniøritut Siunnersuisarfik A/S established in 1989 is a subsidiary of Ramboll A/S with 15-20 employees across 3 offices Nuuk, Sisimiut, and Ilulissat.

Ramboll Greenland solves tasks within land-urban development, transport, construction, energy, heat, electricity, and environment. The Industries include mining and exploration, oil and gas, informatics, management, natural resources, sun, wind and water.

The philanthropic association Realdania is building the Icefjord Centre in a partnership with the Government of Greenland and Avannaata Kommunia, and with funding from the Nordea Foundation, Augustinus Foundation, Blomberg Philanthropies and OAK Foundation for the building’s exhibition and public activities.


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Ramboll Group A/S
Hannemanns Allé 53
DK-2300 Copenhagen S
Tel:+45 5161 1000
Fax:+45 5161 1001


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