Snøhetta designs UFO-shaped Svart hotel in Norway’s Arctic Circle

Oslo-based architecture firm Snøhetta has designed Svart, a new hotel opening in Northern Norway in 2021.

Located in the Arctic Circle, on the edge of Norway’s Holandsfjorden fjord at the base of the Svartisen glacier, the property will be based on the “powerhouse” building system developed by Snøhetta and a group of collaborators to create “energy-positive” sustainable buildings. When it opens, the property will be Arctic Circle’s first energy net-positive hotel, designed to consume 85 percent less energy than the average hotel.

Designed in a ring shape, the structure of the building was inspired by traditional Norwegian fishing structures: the “fiskehjell,” an A-shaped wooden structure for drying fish, and the “rorbu,” a type of temporary house used by fishermen. These two references will contribute to the building’s supporting structure of poles that will hold the building above the water while making minimal contact with the ecosystem. A platform will run through the support poles to serve as an outdoor promenade in the summer, while providing storage for boats and kayaks during the winter.

The circular body of Svart will extend from the shoreline by the foot of the Almlifjellet mountain and into the waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord. The circular shape will provide a panoramic view of the fjord.

Regional design elements will be seen in Svart, including sustainable materials such as wood and cladding. Based on solar radiation mapping, the hotel’s circular shape will maximize sun exposure to harness as much solar energy as possible through rooftop solar panels. The locally crafted panels will be made using hydro energy to further reduce the hotel’s footprint.

The property will also have secluded terraces to provide privacy and protect against the sun during warmer months, thus eliminating the need for artificial cooling. Large windows will allow for sun exposure in the winter when the sun is low, while also framing panoramic views of the fjord.

The “powerhouse” standard used for the design of the property was created by Snøhetta with Entra, Skanska, the Zero Emission Resource Organisation and Asplan Viak. This standard outlines a requirement for the building to not only be energy-positive, but to generate more renewable energy over a 60-year period than the total amount of energy that would be required to sustain daily operations and to build, produce materials and demolish the building.

Photo credit: Snøhetta/Plompmozes