17.3.2022

Qaammat Fjeld pavilion

A pavilion designed and built by Architect Konstantin Ikonomidis in cooperation with Qeqqata Kommunia (the Qeqqata Municipality), located on a UNESCO site in Sarfannguit, Greenland.

Located in Sarfannguit, a cultural landscape in West Greenland and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2018, the Fjeld pavilion by Konstantin Ikonomidis is designed to celebrate and promote the Inuit intangible cultural heritage and traditional knowledge of the environment. Characterized by the two fjords that meet on Sarfannguit’s eastern tip on the hills, the pavilion’s location has been carefully chosen by the local community, site manager Paninnguaq Fleischer-Lyberth and architect Konstantin Ikonomidis for its impressive view over the Sarfannguit municipality.

Set on the planned trail between Sarfannguit and Nipisat, this site-specific installation will serve as a landmark and a gathering point and dissemination site in Sarfannguit, where the World Heritage site’s beautiful surroundings can be experienced by locals and visitors to the village. The Fjeld pavilion is designed as a poetic and aesthetic object, but most importantly as a symbolic gesture acknowledging the natural site and rich history, the distinctiveness of the Greenlandic culture, and the spiritual sensibilities rooted in Sarfannguit.

The opening ceremony for the Qaammat pavilion took place on 3 October 2021.

Respecting the site.
Adding to a landscape
The choice for the site was guided by a strong desire to respect nature and find a balance within the extraordinary landscape. The pavilion seeks to embrace a sensitivity towards nature instilled in the local culture, and establishes a subtle presence by blurring the physical boundary between man-made structure and the natural terrain and landscape.

The pavilion is anchored in the rocky terrain. Drilled into the ground with 40-mm holes, the foundation is constructed with rock anchors in the exact same way that every typical house in the settlement is. Attached to the upper part of the metal poles is a custom made stainless steel bracket with a circular geometry. The metal bar is fully horizontal and the poles vary in length according to the terrain. The curving walls, constructed in glass blocks, form a linear pathway open at both ends, which serves as entrance to the pavilion.

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One of the more distinctive features of the structure is its glass ‘shell’, its play of transparencies, scale and weight, resulting in a feeling of surreality. The Qaammat pavilion can simultaneously alter the viewer’s perspective, merge, and even vanish into the surrounding topography.

Light
The design draws inspiration from the moon and the Arctic light in combination with the snow’s reflections. An important part of the design phase was site-specific research by Konstantin Ikinomidis. Following his earlier work and research on the subject of home, Konstantin focused on his interest in integrating landscape, culture and human stories into the design. Marked by encounters, conversations and interviews with the locals, the architect’s intention is to reflect these experiences, stories and myths poetically in the design of the pavilion.

Glass
The solid cast glass bricks are manufactured and partly sponsored by WonderGlass. Founded in 2013, Christian and Maurizio Mussati have built the company leveraging on the bespoke glass savoir-faire, made in Venice, Italy, which encompasses lighting as well as handcrafted installations. Every product relies on solid traditional techniques such as blown, cast and fused glass. By bonding craftsmanship with contemporary design and art, WonderGlass consistently provides tailor-made solutions to incorporate artisanal creations into projects of any scale.

The glass meets the rock
The building’s edifice comprises glass blocks arranged in a way that forms two narrow openings, which invites the visitor to experience its intimate atmosphere and opens up to the wider landscape. There is an immense sense of power in this natural landscape, yet it also reminds us of nature’s vulnerability. The concept of using glass as a building material ‘anchored’ in the rock translates this sensibility.

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Glass was chosen for its palpability, its ability to highlight transparency; it camouflages the building and delineates the landscape – the pavilion inserts its presence but remains almost invisible. The interior architectural space develops an intricate relationship with the outside, and provides an interesting and enjoyable space. While sitting inside, the viewer experiences the opaque material in combination with the sun, with the snow. The pavilion is imagined as a canvas, which will come alive through reflecting the colour palette of its surroundings – sun, snow, the different seasons, reflections of the building’s visitors.

The glass will absorb and fluctuate light, and seen from a distance, it will reflect the colours of the surroundings, the seasons, the passing of time. Through these multitudes of reflections and abstractions on the terrain, the pavilion will generate the effect of a bigger space and form diverse experiences.

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