Svart Powerhouse, First Arctic Circle Hotel by Snøhetta
Floating at the foot of the Svartisen Glacier, the Svart Powerhouse Hotel is the first of its kind above the arctic circle.
In collaboration with Arctic Adventures of Norway, Asplan Viak and Skanska, Snøhetta has designed Svart, the world’s first Powerhouse hotel, at the foot of the Svartisen glacier that runs through Meløy municipality in northern Norway. In short, the Svart Powerhouse, situated just above the icy tundra, is the world’s first Arctic Circle Hotel.
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 guests of the Svart Powerhouse a panoramic view of the fjord and more amazingly, the experience of living in such close proximity with unique icy enivrons.
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 was important for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful Northern nature. – Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founding Partner, Snøhetta
Svart Powerhouse, First Arctic Circle Hotel
Floating at the foot of the Svartisen Glacier, the Svart Powerhouse Hotel is the first of its kind above the arctic circle. According to Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founding Partner at Snøhetta: 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 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 rare plant species, the clean waters and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier
In building the Svart Powerhouse Hotel just above the arctic circle, Snøhetta’s main goal was to preserve the pristine natural environment of its Northern Norway location. Using solar panels and strategic positioning, the building harvests its own energy allowing it to operate on about 85% less energy than standard hotels while private terraces cast a shadow eliminating the need for artificial cooling. The circular structure was built on wooden poles in order to reduce disruption to the landscape. Inspired by the local fishing heritage, the round design pays tribute to vernacular architecture while also affording guests with 360-degree views of Holandsfjorden Fjord and the alpine landscape.
First building to be built after the energy positive Powerhouse standard
Architecture 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 the smallest possible footprint in nature, and gives the building an almost transparent appearance.
To reach the Powerhouse standard, several cutting-edge design choices have been made. Architects 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. Because of the long summer nights of this area, the yearly production of sun power will actually by higher than the amount of energy you would harvest further south.
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.
Svart Powerhouse Hotel is the first building to be built after the energy positive Powerhouse standard in a Northern climate. Not only does this new hotel reduces its yearly energy consumption by approximately 85% compared to a modern hotel, but it also produces its own energy – an absolute “must” in this precious arctic environment.
The precious nature surrounding the hotel can only be accessed by boat, and there are plans to introduce an energy neutral boat shuttle from the city of Bodø to the hotel. Soon open for bookings here – Svart.no.