Ny Anstalt in Nuuk: Greenland Correctional Facility

Nuuk Correctional Facility, Architect, Building, Competition Design, Architecture

Ny Anstalt in Nuuk, Greenland

Architectural Development in Greenland – by schmidt hammer lassen architects

20 May 2013

Ny Anstalt in Nuuk, Grønland

schmidt hammer lassen architects wins competition for correctional facility in Greenland

Design: schmidt hammer lassen architects with Friis & Moltke

As part of a Danish design team, schmidt hammer lassen architects has won the competition to design the correctional facility Ny Anstalt in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. The winning design for the 8,000 square metre facility was submitted by a team including Rambøll as full service contractor, architects Friis & Moltke and landscape architects Møller & Grønborg. Ny Anstalt is the first such facility in Greenland.

Ny Anstalt in Nuuk
image from architects

The contrast between beauty and roughness is a guiding theme for the project. Openness, light, views, security and flexibility are the leading values behind the design.

“We have designed a project which incorporates the contrast between the rough and the beautiful. Our project matches the unique and beautiful surroundings and supports the focus of the Danish Prison and Probation Service on the balance between punishment and rehabilitation. The whole idea behind the project is to add qualities to the complex that will enhance rehabilitation and diminish physical and psychological violence,” explained Morten Schmidt, Founding Partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects.

The belief that the physical surroundings have an important impact on human behaviour and the will to collaborate has motivated the client to initiate a project of high architectural quality. Moreover, the competition aimed at creating a good working environment for the employees.

Ny Anstalt in Nuuk Ny Anstalt Nuuk Nuuk Correctional Facility
images from architects

The winning proposal consists of five residential units with rooms for 76 inmates, in both a ‘closed’ and an ‘open’ section. The project also includes work and leisure facilities as well as spaces for visitors to the inmates. In addition, there is an administration division and various technical and security installations.

“Architecturally the facility is composed of accurately shaped blocks, which in their positioning follow the natural contours of the rocky landscape. In our appreciation of the lines and character of the landscape, we create a project which in orientation and scale appears subordinate to its surroundings. We make a place with an identity – a small, well-defined area in a magnificent and vast natural setting,” stated Morten Schmidt.

The design of the residential units offers an experience of the changing daylight and the surroundings. The contrasts of nature – snow, ice, rocks, moss, blue sky, sun, night, day, birds and other animals – are brought into the complex by the way the buildings are arranged in relation to each other. Thus, a panoramic window in the common lounge area carries nature into each residential unit, and the inmates have an unrestricted view towards the landscape from the windows in their cells.

The contrast between beauty and roughness is also present in the choice of materials: concrete, wood and corten steel. The choice of materials is rooted in a desire to adapt the complex to the landscape.

schmidt hammer lassen architects has experience with projects in the justice system. For instance, the company has designed the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands, which is due for completion in 2015. Moreover, schmidt hammer lassen architects has designed a string of other projects in Greenland, where emphasis has been put on the combination of local cultural heritage and architectural quality, exemplified by Katuaq, the Cultural Centre in Nuuk, which was completed in 1997.

Nuuk Correctional Facility – Building Information

Architect Team: schmidt hammer lassen architects ; Friis & Moltke
Full Service Contractor: Rambøll A/S
Client: Danish Ministry of Justice ; Danish Prison and Probation Service
Area: 8,387 sqm
Competition: 2013, 1st prize in restricted competition
Engineer: Rambøll A/S
Landscape Architect: Møller & Grønborg

Ny Anstalt in Nuuk images / information from schmidt hammer lassen architects

Ny Anstalt in Nuuk design : schmidt hammer lassen architects


To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.




Greenland Architecture

Greenland Building Developments – chronological list

Iceland Buildings

Scandinavian Prison Buildings

Danish State Prison Building, Falster, Denmark
Design: C. F. Møller Architects
Danish State Prison Building
image from architect

Holmsheidi Prison Building, Reykjavik, Iceland
Design: Arkis Architects
Holmsheidi Prison Building
photo © Hreinn Magnusson

Halden Prison Oslo, Norway

Another Greenland Building by Danish architects:

Greenland National Gallery of Art
BIG + TNT Nuuk + Ramboll Nuuk + Arkitekti
Greenland National Gallery of Art
image from BIG

Greenland National Gallery of Art

Ilulissat Icefjord
Design: Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter
Icefjord Centre
image from architects

Ilulissat Icefjord – 22 Jun 2016

Cultural Centres




Schmidt Hammer Lassen Buildings

Thor Heyerdahl School of Advanced and Further Education, Larvik, Norway
Thor Heyerdahl School
image from architects
Thor Heyerdahl School

Urban Mediaspace Aarhus, Jylland, Denmark
Urban Mediaspace Aarhus
image from architects
Aarhus Library – largest public library in Scandinavia

Horsens Masterplan, Horsens, Jylland, Denmark
Horsens Masterplan
image from architects
Horsens Masterplan

Faroe Island Building

Greenland Architecture

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Ny Anstalt in Nuuk Building – page

Website: Visit Greenland