Snøhetta unveils plans for an ‘energy positive’ Arctic Circle hotel

International architecture firm Snøhetta have announced their latest project Svart, the world’s first Powerhouse hotel, situated just above the Arctic Circle at the foot of the Svartisen glacier that runs through Meløy municipality in northern Norway. This is the first building to be built after

the energy positive Powerhouse standard in a Northern climate, using approximately 85 per cent less energy than an average modern hotel and also producing its own clean energy, such is the concept’s emphasis on sustainability. The reason behind this, says Snøhetta founding partner, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, is “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 designers feel that there are not only obligations that need to be met regarding visitors but also to the plant and animal inhabitants in the water surrounding the hotel. The hotel’s roof is clad with solar panels

in order to take advantage of Norway’s long summer nights, and has come as a result of extensive research into how solar energy is best harvested. The circular design of the building exploits the sun’s energy throughout the day. The future aim is to generate more energy than is consumed, and as a result prove a sustainable example to other hotels and resorts. The circular shape of the building is

inspired by the forms of a fiskehjell, a wooden structure that is used to dry fish, and a rorbue, a traditional fisherman’s home. The hotel, which offers panoramic views to its visitors, is built on weather- resistant poles standing several metres below the fjord it is built on, so as to ensure minimal impact on the surrounding nature in the water and also to give the building a transparent appearance. This wildlife can currently only be accessed by boat, and future plans include introducing an energy neutral boat shuttle from the city of Bodø to the hotel.


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