Snøhetta has revealed its design for Svart, a hotel for sustainable tourism company Arctic Adventure of Norway. Located in the Arctic Circle, on the edge of Norway’s Holandsfjorden fjord at the base of the Svartisen glacier, the building is based on the “powerhouse” building principal, a system developed by Snøhetta and a group of collaborators for creating energy-positive sustainable buildings. It’ll be Arctic Circle’s first energy net-positive hotel.
Designed in a ring shape that allows visitors to experience their surroundings more intimately, the structure of the building was inspired by traditional Norwegian fishing structures: the “fiskehjell,” an A-shaped wooden structure for drying fish, and the “rorbue”, a type of temporary house used by fishermen. These two references will contribute to the building’s supporting structure of poles that hold the building above the water while making minimal contact with the ecosystem.
“Building in such a precious environment comes with some clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site,” says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founding partner of Snøhetta.
The “powerhouse” standard used for the design was created by Snøhetta alongside Entra, Skanska, the Zero Emission Resource Organisation and Asplan Viak. It outlines a requirement for the building to not only be energy-positive, but to generate more renewable energy over a 60-year period than the total amount of energy that would be required to both sustain daily operations and to build, produce materials, and demolish the building.
In order to achieve this level of sustainability on the design of Svart, Snøhetta conducted an extensive survey of the solar conditions at the site throughout the year, eventually settling on the ring shape in order to place rooms, restaurants, and terraces in locations that make the most of the available solar energy. Meanwhile solar panels on the roof harvest energy, producing more energy than buildings slightly further south due to the 24-hour daylight conditions over the summer, and geothermal wells will harness the energy from the ground below for heating purposes.
Norwegian firm Snohetta has been known to produce site-specific sustainable designs which address the environmental and topographical context.