At the foot of the Svartisen Glacier in Meløy in northern Norway, the Snøhetta architecture firm, in collaboration with Arctic Adventures of Norway, Asplan Viak and Skanska, designed a positive energy building. Svart Hotel’s name pays tribute to the glacier and its natural environment. Furthermore, it consumes little energy with about 85% less than a conventional hotel, and it also has a positive energy balance because it produces energy. In order to realize this project, the architects had to consider the extremely fragile and delicate natural environment of the Arctic Circle. A design challenge they have come up with a great responsibility to achieve a building with low environmental impact, while preserving the natural beauty of the site and the local fauna and flora. Indeed, the architect Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founder of Snøhetta, stressed that the design of a positive energy building with low environmental impact played a key role in the framework of a sustainable tourism program.
Svart is the first hotel in the world to meet the Powerhouse standard, a standard resulting from the collaboration between Snøhetta, Entra, Skanska, the ZERO Emission Resource Organization and Asplan Viak for buildings that, after 60 years of operation, will provide more renewable energy to communities than necessary for the construction, management and destruction of the building and the materials used. An ambitious program to date with an office building in Bærum and other ongoing projects, including a Montessori school in Drøbak. Each design choice is optimized so that the hotel has a low environmental impact and consumes as little energy as possible, starting with its ring shape. The architects first studied and mapped the annual solar radiation in relation to the glacier’s mountain context, which allowed them to maximize the energy production of the solar panels installed on the roof of the building and to develop the solar energy. space strategically. Thus, the architects worked on several levels. The floor plan and façade solutions promote natural room lighting, including hotel rooms and restaurants. In winter, when the sun is low in the sky, the large windows of the facade can enjoy the sunlight while in summer, when the sun is high in the sky, the shadows of the upper terraces protect strong sunlight. The choice of materials is a fundamental element to meet the Powerhouse standard. Indeed, in addition to the results obtained once the materials are in place, it is also necessary to take into account the energy required for their production, transport and destruction. This is why architects have preferred to use wood as a structural and cladding element, avoiding steel and concrete as much as possible.
The name “Svart” is a tribute to tradition and to Svartisen, the second largest glacier in Norway, which is a popular tourist destination. “Svart”, which means “black” or “blue” in Old Norwegian, refers to the blue ice that characterizes the Svartisen. The hotel will be built on an A-shaped wooden post structure inspired by “fiskehjell”, the traditional structures where Norwegian fishermen allowed the fish to dry. The supporting structure of the construction will take up another element of vernacular architecture, the “rorbue”, a seasonal house used by fishermen built on a platform above water supported by piles to promote access to boats . Thanks to this type of structure, the construction of the hotel will not come to clutter the fjord. At the same time, the wooden boardwalk can be used to store canoes and kayaks in winter, while in summer tourists can walk around and enjoy the panoramic view of the fjord from the circular shape of the hotel.
Obviously to access this beautiful establishment, only one way out: The road