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Katuaq Cultural Centre of Greenland in Nuuk

Visitors Facility in Greenland design by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Denmark

23 Feb 2017

Architects: Schmidt Hammer Lassen

Location: Nuuk, Greenland

Katuaq Cultural Centre of Greenland in Nuuk celebrates its 20th anniversary


Katuaq Cultural Centre of Greenland

This week, the Katuaq Cultural Centre of Greenland in Nuuk celebrates its 20th anniversary. When opened in 1997 the building provided for the first time a cultural and artistic meeting place for both locals, the international Inuit community and visitors from all over the world. Built to last and survive Greenland’s unforgiving climate, the cultural centre still stands today as a dynamic meeting point catering for a diversity of activities from concerts, cinema, theatre performances, conferences, exhibitions to public events.

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In 1992 Schmidt Hammer Lassen won the international design competition ahead of 226 proposals, with a concept inspired by the dramatic Greenlandic landscape of winding fjords moving glaciers, icebergs and in winter the inspiring, undulating northern lights.


Katuaq Cultural Centre reflects these elements: the surging, bright, timber-clad façade, with its luminous skylight symbolizes the northern lights – the triangular, monolithic dark body of the building represents the iceberg – the interior bright, white foyer space with its independent volumes of theatre, cinema and café reminiscence the spatiality of the fjords and mountains, snow and ice. With its organic, natural, appearance the building hit directly into the soul of the Greenlandic people and it has managed to gather Greenlanders from all age groups and interests bringing a sense of ownership that reaches deep into society even today, 20 years later.


“Winning the competition to design the Cultural Centre in Greenland was a major breakthrough for our studio as our first project on an international scale. It spearheaded our architectural ambition to create cultural buildings with a strong sense of place and a space that acts as a meeting place for people,” says Founding Partner Morten Schmidt. “The challenge of constructing a sustainable building that could withstand the arctic climate conditions also brought us new knowledge about which materials we should use”.

Since its opening Katuaq has been a popular space embraced by not just its capital citizens but Greenlanders from all parts of the country. The annual visitor number of 100,000 (Greenland has a population of approx. 56,500) is reflecting the dynamic activity and cultural programme of the centre but also the fact, that these events are regularly broadcast from the TV studio designed for the building. Bringing the Inuit culture to every home, the Katuaq building has become an icon for the Greenlandic community and beyond, spreading as far as Canada, Alaska and Russia.

Katuaq Cultural Centre of Greenland has been awarded the Selected Buildings Award, 1997/ The Nykredit Architecture Prize, 1998/ The Danish Arts Foundation Award, 1998/ and The Eckersberg Medal, 1999.


Katuaq Cultural Centre of Greenland in Nuuk images / information received 110217 from Schmidt Hammer Lassen

Schmidt Hammer Lassen on e-architect

Katuaq – Grønlands Kulturhus, Nuuk
Design: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Katuaq Culture Centre
photo : Joachim Ladefoged
Grønlands Kulturhus Nuuk – post from 2008

Location: Nuuk, Greenland

Greenland Architecture

Contemporary Architecture in Greenland

Greenland Building Developments – chronological list

Greenland Architecture

Icelandic Architecture

Greenland Buildings by Danish architects on e-architect:

Greenland National Gallery of Art
Design: BIG + TNT Nuuk + Ramboll Nuuk + Arkitekti
Greenland National Gallery of Art
image from BIG
Greenland National Gallery of Art

Nuuk Correctional Facility Building
Design: schmidt hammer lassen architects with Friis & Moltke
Ny Anstalt in Nuuk
image from architects
Nuuk Correctional Facility Greenland

Queen Ingrid Hospital, Godthåb
Design: C. F. Møller, Architects
Queen Ingrid Hospital
picture : C. F. Møller, Architects
Queen Ingrid Hospital Building

Thor Heyerdahl School of Advanced and Further Education, Larvik, Norway
Thor Heyerdahl School
image from architects
Thor Heyerdahl School

Faroe Island Building

Cultural Centres

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