When it comes to beautiful minimalism, it’s difficult to one-up Scandinavians. A gorgeous building called The Whale is rising out from the ground in the Arctic Circle on the northern coast of Norway. Created by Copenhagen-based Danish architectural studio Dorte Mandrup, the building on the Island of Andøya will resemble a giant rock outcrop and is one of the best places on Planet Earth to watch whales from. Even though the development of The Whale had stalled for a bit after a large Viking-Era settlement mound was discovered nearby, development is now back on track after it was ruled that The Whale will be a living piece of history and will promote tourism. We can expect The Whale to be opened in June 2023.

The newest images of The Whale were created by Bergen-based studio Mir. Check out the pictures of the building below, dear Pandas, and let us know what you think of it. Personally, seeing The Whale has reignited my desire to go adventuring again. And you can be sure that I’ll be there when the building opens in a few years.

Bored Panda reached out to the team managing The Whale project. Camilla Ilmoni, a member of the team, told us all about whale-watching year-round from Andenes, went into detail about why the development of the building was delayed, and gave us some advice on how to dress when we go visit Norway. Read on, fellow nature-lovers!

More info: DorteMandrup.dk | Instagram | Facebook | TheWhale.no | Instagram | Facebook | Mir.no

The Whale is a building that will appear on the Norwegian coast and is designed by Copenhagen-based firm Dorte Mandrup

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

It’s designed in such a way as to look like it’s rising from the landscape. At the core of the philosophy is the idea of minimally-invasive design

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

“It takes about one hour by boat, from Andenes, to reach the best whale watching spot offshore. There is an underwater canyon stretching towards the land, The Bleik Canyon, and this is the feeding area of male sperm whales that feed here all year round. In other words, Andenes is one of the few places in the world that can offer whale watching year-round,” Camilla explained.

She added that if we’re lucky, we can also encounter orcas, humpback whales, fin whales, pilot whales, and even dolphins. “Sometimes, orcas come so close to shore that it is possible to see them from land and from The Whale. But to get close to the large whales, one needs to join a whale safari,” she said.

The building will have space for whale-watching, a museum, offices, and even a cafe

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

The roof of the whale will encourage the growth of moss to help it better blend into the landscape

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

Camilla told Bored Panda that winters in Norway are cold and summers can be warm. “However, going out at sea is always chilly. In winter, the keywords are wool, windproof, waterproof,” she gave us some advice on keeping warm and staying toasty when it’s cold. “In summer, bring a pair of gloves, a hat, wind- and waterproof.”

You can find more info about getting dressed for winter in Northern Norway right here.

The Whale will open in 2023 on the Island of Andøya which is in Norway, in the Arctic Circle

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

Here are the plans of the building…

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

But why exactly was the development of The Whale at a standstill for some time? Camilla told us all about what happened. “In November last year, the Danish architecture studio Dorte Mandrup AS won the international competition to design the new attraction, The Whale, 300 km north of the Arctic Circle in northern Norway. The images of the groundbreaking and poetic architecture attracted worldwide attention. In the middle of the celebration, archaeological investigations on the building site revealed remnants of settlement dating back to the Viking Age,” she said.

…and here are some more mockups of what the outside and the inside will look like

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

“The farm mound of Andenes was well known, but not the extent of it. It turned out that the mound was even larger than previously thought making it Norway’s largest of its kind. The building site became automatically protected under the Cultural Heritage Act. On the 15th of October, The Whale could celebrate again. Nordland County Council has granted The Whale dispensation from the Cultural Heritage Act.”

Camilla continued: “A year of successful collaboration between the parties has brought results. Naturally, the prolonged process with the zoning plan due to the archeological findings has delayed the project by one year. The new opening date for The Whale is postponed to June 2023. We have used the past year and the extra time well. In October 2020, we could lift the veil on the new exhibition and reveal the very first images of the experience inside The Whale.”

This spot in Norway is one of the best in the world to watch migrating whales

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

The Whale will have plenty more features, including impressive displays

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

Image credits: Dorte Mandrup

The building was purposefully designed in such a way as to blend in with the coastal landscape near the Norwegian town of Andenes. The site is near a deep-sea valley where migrating whales pass by.

The roof of The Whale will be made up of a single curved concrete shell. This “parabolic form effectively transmits the forces to three support points in the corners of the building, creating a large, inner column-free room,” explains the Dorte Mandrup team on their website.

The roof will be covered with stones that will crack and encourage moss growth. This will help the building blend into the landscape.

The design hopes to create awareness and inspire learning and conservation of whales and their environment in Norway. It’s one of the very few countries in the world where commercial hunting of minke whales is allowed.

Dorte Mandrup was founded by its eponymous creator in 1999. The team calls itself “die-hard overachievers” and aims to combine their firm grasp on reality with a knack for dreaming out loud.

People were ecstatic to learn about The Whale (and we bet some of them are already booking their trips to Norway)