A house on the iceIcefjord Center, Ilulissat (DK)

The Icefjord Centre makes the disappearance of the spectacular polar landscape in the west of Greenland its main message. The special shape of the building posed challenges for the local sanitation company.

Hardly any human product can compete with the beauty of this wilderness, not even architecture. It is no coincidence that the Ilulissat Icefjord on the west coast of Greenland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Every day, 70 million tonnes of ice break away from the neighbouring Sermeq Kujalleq glacier and flow into the 6 km wide and 55 km long fjord. This is how small and large icebergs drift into Disko Bay - and give the impression of an almost inexhaustible force of nature.

The impression is deceptive. Here, north of the Arctic Circle, nature is particularly fragile. The size of the ice masses on the fjord has halved in the last decade.

A wing blown by the wind

The Ice Fjord Centre is the only building in the middle of the icy landscape (© Adam Mørk)

The vulnerability of this wilderness is reflected in architect Dorte Mandrup's Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat. Built on a high plateau on the edge of Greenland's third largest town, the visitor centre not only overlooks the spectacular bay with its drifting icebergs. With its shape of a wing, it blends into this wind and snow-blown landscape.

The supporting structure of visible steel frames, wooden elements and floor-to-ceiling windows play a key role in harmonising the solitary building with its surroundings. The elongated silhouette of the building, twisted in the centre, also makes it possible to see ever new sections of the area through the triangular and square windows.

The curved shape of the building in particular presented challenges for the plumbing company involved. “Both the shafts and all the pipes had to be installed in the curved walls,“ says Jesper Bredahl, co-owner of the plumbing and electrical company VVS og El Firmaet A/S in Ilulissat. The decision in favour of Geberit products was easy for him and his business partner Jesper Hjord Hansen: “Geberit systems are safe and reliable long after the installation has been completed.“

The ice in all its diversity

The roof of the Ice Fjord Centre is also a terrace (© Adam Mørk)

The Icefjord Centre makes the core element of the Greenlandic landscape, the ice endangered by climate change, its main message.

An exhibition, supplemented by an ice laboratory and a cinema, uses physical objects and digital media to tell the story of ice, its physical formation and change, its seismographically measurable movements and its role in climate history.

It is precisely this combination of science, architecture and nature that expands our understanding of the ice and its significance far beyond Greenland.

"Quality and reliability"Jesper Hjort Hansen and Jesper Bredahl, plumbing and electrical contractor in Greenland

Jesper Bredahl, co-owner of the plumbing and electrical company VVS og El Firmaet A/S in Ilulissat (© Adam Mørk)
Jesper Hjort Hansen, co-owner of the plumbing and electrical company VVS og El Firmaet A/S in Ilulissat (© Adam Mørk)

What distinguishes your work from plumbing companies on the mainland in Denmark?

In the winter months, which is about one to four months, we have temperatures between -15 and -20 degrees. This requires winter precautions such as heated tents.

Do you also carry out installation work during the winter months?

We have to complete all outdoor work by 1 October. In winter, we work inside the building.

Do you also need special solutions or products?

We actually use pre-insulated water and drainage pipes with trace heating.

This is not the first time you have chosen Geberit products. What convinces you?

Clearly the quality and reliability of Geberit products.

About Jesper Hjort Hansen and Jesper Bredahl
Jesper Hjort Hansen and Jesper Bredahl are co-owner of the plumbing and electrical company VVS og El Firmaet A/S in Ilulissat. The company has been in business for more than 20 years and currently employs around 100 people.
Founded as a traditional plumbing company, VVS og El Firmaet A/S has developed further and today offers services in the areas of plumbing, electrical, heating, insulation, metalwork and car repairs.


Geberit Know-how

Geberit products used in the project
  • Drainage system PE
  • Sigma cistern
  • Duofix installation system
  • Sigma 70 actuator plate