Education on thin ice

Sledge Project
Greenland (Uummannaq)

In the world’s most northern orphanage on the heart-shaped little Arctic island of Uummannaq, Greenlandic kids used to enjoy weekends learning about the traditional Inuit ways of hunting and fishing – but it’s on increasingly thin ice. The old children’s home is sinking owing to climate change and can no longer be used, risking melting their culture with it.

Inspired by an art trip to the town where dogs outnumber people, Dutch architect Rob Sweere designed a sustainable solution to provide mobility, shelter, education and space age fun. He combined the local mode of transport – dog sleds – with resilient insulated cabins to make two nomadic habitats that can scoot about for weeks on educational trips that teach about the preservation of indigenous identities in Greenland’s landscape. Each has room for up to eight kids, teachers and hunters, and allows one of the Earth’s coldest countries to be observed from its circular portholes.


After these mobile igloos-on-skis, the designer’s next project is a permanent settlement and homes that float on the sea, providing transport in remote water-logged regions.

Written by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future (09 August 2015)

Project leader

Rob Sweere, Founder and Artist, Rob Sweere Artworks

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