In 1973, the small settlement of Qullissat was closed down due to the demise of its mining industry.
Its population migrated to Ilulissat and took an important part of the community with them; their meeting space, their church. Today, this building stand as a symbol of how meeting spaces are of vital importance to a community.
Movement and migration have been and are an intrinsic aspect of the Greenlandic culture.
We propose a masterplan alternative, based on people as a resource, all kinds of people. Those who live there, and those to come.
Capitalizing on density and the migrating community, whether it be for one day, one season or one lifetime, this strategy aims to promote “meeting” as a resource for growth and economic sustainability.
We suggest 4 interventions, where architecture can be the catalyst for “meeting” and a more cohesive Ilulissat.
It is the present and future Greenlander, where ever they may come from, that will eventually form the Illulisat of tomorrow.
Lack of housing is almost endemic in Greenland. Waiting lists for housing in Ilulissat alone is in the order of five years. Due to future work migration linked to resources and the desire of the town to grow and attract youth to Ilulissat, temporary housing is a crucial need for the area.
The harbour has been an area close to the town centre, linked to fishing and the sea, the traditional connection to the rest of the world. Here we propose a market for locals and visitors next to fishing harbor. Adding to this, temporary housing for workers and students is integrated in the market plaza and the harbor edge, an area full of potential and not developed. Locals, tourist, students and workers from abroad could enliven this other wise forgotten space, by Ilulissats centre.
Student migration in Greenland is a serious national concern. Often, young students who travel abroad to peruse their studies, do not come back. This is largely due to lack of higher education offers in Greenland, that can compete with international curriculums.
On the way to the Ilulissat Ice Fjord, a UNESCO world heritage site visited by tourist and locals alike, a new meeting hub is proposed.
Aiming to enhance the encounter between students, locals and tourists, the Glacial Hub offers a new Unesco office, a Tourist information centre and spaces for the new Faculty of Glacial Studies.
It’s purpose is to attract students from Greenland and abroad to a specific curriculum only Ilulissat can offer. In this way, the centre aims to enhance the cultural and educational possibilities of the town, using the Ice Fjord, as a main attractor.
Tourism is a vital economic life line of Ilulissat. From one day stop by cruise ships during the summer, to longer visits to enjoy the spectacular nature, tourism also has a large impact on the town’s resources and infrastructure.
One of the largest challenges is to establish a considered meeting between the local culture and the visitor.
Next to the existing school, in the centre of Ilulissat, we propose a Culture Centre a multipurpose space where locals can meet for municipal gatherings. As part of this strategy, the elders home is integrated in the building while extending the cultural offer of the town by creating exhibition spaces and a main library.
The Cultural Centre hopes to become a lantern in the town centre that will attract both locals and visitors, young and old, where the local culture can be shared across generations and continents.