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Whale-watching is one of the most transcendent and wonderful of pastimes, and one that is typically relegated to windswept sea cliffs or small boats on choppy, cold water. But now whale enthusiasts have a truly premier destination for their favorite activity: the Whale. The site is planned for the tip of Norway’s Andoya Island, in a place called Andenes that sits 300 kilometers (about 186 miles) north of the Arctic circle.

The design by Dorte Mandrup not only invites visitors to view the frequent whale migrations in the area but resembles a whale itself, sloping in a subtle arc above the island’s shore. From above, the curved concrete roof looks just like the back of a breaching whale; from afar, the rising glass windows that take in the seascape frame the roofline in an echo of a giant whale’s fluke rising from the water. It’s a maritime salute that blows Santiago Calatrava’s whale fluke design for the Milwaukee Art Museum right out of the water

The innovative concrete shell not only affords an uninterrupted view through floor-to-ceiling glass windows by skirting the need for internal columnar support; it also can support Aurora Borealis sky-gazing for those who prefer to take in the elusive majesty of vast space, rather than that of the vasty deep.

The Whale is scheduled to open in 2022 and seems poised to be a crucial destination for those willing to travel to the ends of the earth in order to take in some of its greatest sights. Whale, ho!

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Sarah Rose Sharp

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit — including at the Detroit Institute of Arts....

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