In collaboration with Arctic Adventures of Norway, Asplan Viak and Skanska, Snøhetta has developed a concept design for “Svart” with the ambition to be the world’s first Powerhouse hotel, at the foot of the Svartisen glacier that runs through Meløy municipality in northern Norway. Situated just above the Arctic Circle.
“Svart” aimed to be the first building to be built after the energy positive Powerhouse standard in a Northern climate. Not only aiming to reduces its yearly energy consumption by approximately 85% compared to a modern hotel, but it also producing its own energy - an absolute “must” in this precious arctic environment.
Snøhetta’s work on the Svart project was completed in 2019. We are committed to raise the bar for sustainability in all industries and will continue to develop concepts that match the energy positive Powerhouse standards, wherever possible.
Arctic Adventure of Norway
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. It is 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 rare plant species, the clean waters and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier.
Kjetil Trædal Thorsen Co-founder Snøhetta
A minimal footprint
The circular body of “Svart” extends from the shoreline by the foot of the Almlifjellet mountain and into the clear waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord. The circular shape provides a panoramic view of the fjord and an experience of living in proximity with nature.
The construction is inspired local vernacular architecture in the form of the “fiskehjell” (A-shaped wooden structure for drying fish) and the “rorbue” (a traditional type of seasonal house used by fishermen). The rorbue reference translates into the hotel’s supporting structure which is built from weather resistant wooden poles stretching several meters below the surface of the fjord. The poles ensure that the building physically places a minimal footprint in the pristine nature, and gives the building an almost transparent appearance.
An energy optimized design
To reach the Powerhouse standard, several cutting-edge design choices have been made. For example, the architects have conducted an extensive mapping of how solar radiation behaves in relation to mountainous context throughout the year to optimize the harvest of energy. The result of the study has been an importance premise for the circular design of the hotel, and both hotel rooms, restaurants and terraces are strategically placed to exploit the Sun’s energy throughout the day and seasons. The hotel’s roof is clad with Norwegian solar panels produced with clean hydro energy reducing the carbon footprint even further. Due to the long summer nights of this area, the annual production of solar energy will be significant.
Secluded terraces provide a shadow play in the façade of the hotel while also ensuring privacy. The facades protect against insolation from the sun in the summer when the sun is high in the sky, removing the need for artificial cooling. During the winter months, when the sun is low in the sky, the large windows of the façade allows for a maximum of insolation to exploit the Sun’s natural thermal energy. Materials with low embodied energy have been used to reach the Powerhouse standard.
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