Snøhetta has unveiled its design for "Svart," a hotel for sustainable tourism company Arctic Adventure of Norway. Located within the Arctic Circle, on the edge of Norway's Holandsfjorden fjord at the base of the Svartisen glacier, the building is designed to the "Powerhouse" building standard, a system developed by Snøhetta and a group of collaborators for creating energy-positive sustainable buildings.
Designed in a distinctive ring shape that allows visitors to feel in touch with the surroundings, 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 seasonal house used by fishermen. These two references contributed to the building's supporting structure of poles that support the building above the water while making minimal contact with the ecosystem. These supports also enable a walkway around the ring of the hotel that visitors will be able to enjoy in the summer.
"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," said Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founding partner of Snøhetta. It was important for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful Northern nature. Building an energy positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features of the plot."
The Powerhouse standard used for the design was developed by Snøhetta alongside Entra, Skanska, the ZERO Emission Resource Organization and Asplan Viak. The standard 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 while 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.