AIR+PORT by BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk
at the Danish Pavilion

| 11 comments
AIR+PORT by BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk at the Danish Pavilion

Danish architects BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk present ideas for a combined airfield and shipping port in Greenland at the Danish Pavilion during the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012.

AIR+PORT by BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk at the Danish Pavilion

The AIR+PORT proposals form one strand of the exhibition Possible Greenland, which addresses the future development of Greenland's infrastructure as new shipping routes and oil drilling bring increased attention to the country.

AIR+PORT by BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk at the Danish Pavilion

The cross-shaped airport and shipping harbour would be located on an island just outside capital city Nuuk and would facilitate domestic and international flights, as well as supporting trade routes.

AIR+PORT by BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk at the Danish Pavilion

"Greenlanders today are purely dependent on air traffic for domestic commutes but almost crippled by empty flights and staggering prices," explains BIG founder Bjarke Ingels. "The new Air+Port will become a transit hub between Europe and America, increasing potential transit tourism and cutting costs for the local commuters."

AIR+PORT by BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk at the Danish Pavilion

Also presented at the exhibition are a masterplan addressing immigration policies, plans to help cultivate resources and ideas for new housing typologies that respect the country's history and identity.

AIR+PORT by BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk at the Danish Pavilion

Other recent projects by BIG include a cultural centre for Bordeaux and a skyscraper shaped like a hash symbol.

AIR+PORT by BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk at the Danish Pavilion

Above: installation at the Danish Pavilion

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Here's a little more information from BIG:


BIG in collaboration with TENU, Julie Hardenberg and Inuk Silas Høgh present Connecting Greenland: AIR+PORT as a part of the exhibition “POSSIBLE GREENLAND” at the Danish Pavilion, exploring the potentials and challenges that Greenland is facing as the country gains global attention.

Greenland’s political agenda is currently dominated by the global interest in its natural resources suggesting an international accessible airport in Nuuk and the upgrading of the capital’s industrial harbor. The current inefficient domestic aviation system together with the eruption of resources and impacts of climate change place Greenland uniquely in the center of the future maritime world map. Greenland Transport Commission identified the island of Angisunnguaq, south of Nuuk as a potential new epicenter for connecting Greenland.

“Greenland has the potential to reposition itself from the periphery to the center of the major world economies of Europe, Asia and America. Greenlanders today are purely dependent on air traffic for domestic commutes but almost crippled by empty flights and staggering prices. The new Air+Port will become a transit hub between Europe and America – increasing potential transit tourism and cutting costs for the local commuters. By overlapping the water and airways in the Air+Port we seek to resolve a domestic challenge with a global investment. A piece of global infrastructure with a positive social side effect – Social Infrastructure.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

Rather than seeing these major infrastructural developments as two separate investments, BIG envisions a symbiotic relationship between the two transportation systems air + port. Instead of creating a new mono programmatic piece of public infrastructure the project explores the potential mix of programmatic molecules creating a new DNA for efficient transportation and vibrant public programs benefitting not only Nuuk, but the country as a whole.

  • flytoget

    BIG´s figured things out… again. Wow.

  • Klaus

    One of the worst BIG projects: not the design itself, but the thought behind it.
    There are a few good things, at least from what we can understand from the renderings, but what I do not understand is the need of making Greenland a new center in world economics and transportation. If they focus more on the real plane routes they will see that economically it would be irresponsible to bring a part of the air traffic that North just to stop in that hub and then take off again.

    Second: I’m not really sure they have studied the climate there. The hub would be useless at least during winter, this is why most of the traffic there and in Alaska is made with little planes that could virtually land everywhere. I’m not really sure I would like to be on the 747 that has to land on a strip as large as a handkerchief.

    Then, tourism and flight prices: I’m not so sure Greenland has to build an AIR+PORT to increase tourism, even if they do they still don’t have infrastructures to take that many tourists. Then, they talk about prices without saying how much this AITR+PORT will cost, how much the flights cost and how they pretend to change flights route without increasing the cost of the flights.

    I think Greenland has so many other problems and climate change is one of them. We (architects) could find a better way to solve their problems instead of bringing them just as near to a place that is so fragile.

    • mng

      Hi Klaus,

      I think there is one point you are missing, which is climate change being understood as a potential for future Greenland development – this is at least what the Danish Biennale pavillon was about, also featuring this project. So it is a speculative project. I do not think icy runways are a subject in such scenario anymore. Anyway, as usual a great project/study by BIG, let’s not hope it is going to be built ;)

  • zizi

    Average time of concept and design by BIG is 30 minutes per project and it shows.

  • Wayne Carr

    Oh my god! Make it stop.

  • Ghost

    One runway for a "transit hub"? Did these guys even crack a book on airport design? Another BIG waste of time.

  • gudrun victoria

    Why does every big project look like it was done by a bunch of dopey grad-school kids? Funky images, no substance.

  • Jake

    This is an extremely badly thought-out design. The core idea that an air and sea port will be required is understandable but the design itself is simplistic, takes no regard for its location and is so focused on form as to not even consider function. A truly terrible design. What where they thinking?

  • Mika

    I don’t know why but I feel so sorry for the pola bear.

  • http://be.net/kc kc_

    Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.

  • Sam

    Those renders show beautifully how they've completed misplaced the dock area, a great potential for rocky runnings aground.