Snøhetta has designed a new a visitor center for Arctic preservation storage called The Arc in Svalbard off the coast of Norway. At 78° north of the Earth’s equator, the project referencing its location in the Arctic and its function as an archive for world memory. Commissioned by Arctic Memory AS, the visitor center will showcase content from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – the world's largest secure seed storage.
Svalbard: The Latest Architecture and News
The government of Norway has announced plans for a $4.4 million USD (37 million NOK) upgrade to the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, after record high temperatures caused the “failsafe” structure to flood earlier this year. While no samples were damaged in that event, the situation sparked concern that the facility would not be able to stand the test of time as originally intended.
Located 130 meters inside a mountain in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago, the vault was constructed as part of a worldwide initiative to protect global biodiversity by preserving the seeds of the world’s important food crops. The structure, which cost $9 million USD to build, was intended to be buried deep into the permafrost to protect against both natural and manmade disasters, but this year’s incident uncovered several design flaws that allowed water to breach the vault’s access tunnel.