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Circular hotel will be world’s first energy positive hotel concept above the Arctic Circle

Hotel Facilities

Circular hotel will be world’s first energy positive hotel concept above the Arctic Circle

The hotel will provide 360-degree views of the Svartisen glacier and the surrounding arctic nature.

By David Malone, Associate Editor | February 12, 2018
Svart hotel in the arctic circle

Courtesy of Snøhetta

Snøhetta, in collaboration with Arctic Adventure of Norway and the Powerhouse Collaboration*, is creating the first building in a northern climate to be built according to the energy positive Powerhouse standard. The building, a circular hotel dubbed “Svart,” will reduce its yearly energy consumption by approximately 85% compared to a traditional hotel and will also produce its own energy.

The hotel will be built in northern Norway near the Svartisen glacier. The hotel’s circular body will extend from the shoreline by the foot of the Almlifjellet Mountain and into the waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord. The design is inspired by a “fiskehjell” (an A-shaped wooden structure for drying fish) and a “rorbu” (a traditional type of seasonal house used by fisherman).


The rorbue inspiration can be seen in the wooden polesCourtesy Snøhetta


The rorbu inspiration can be seen in the hotel’s supporting structure, which is built from weather-resistant wooden poles that rise from several meters below the surface of the fjord. The poles ensure the building creates a minimal footprint in the environment. The poles also create a wooden boardwalk for visitors that can be used to store boats and kayaks, reducing the need for other storage structures.

Hotel rooms, restaurants, and terraces have been specifically places to maximize use of the sun’s energy throughout the day and the seasons. The hotel’s façades protect against insolation from the sun in the summer while the large windows allow for maximum insolation during the winter months. This eliminates the need for artificial cooling in the summer and drastically reduces the need for artificial heating in the winter. The roof also makes use of the sun’s energy as it is clad with Norwegian solar panels produced with clean hydro energy. Additionally, materials with low embodied energy will be used to reach the Powerhouse standard.

“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,” says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founding Partner, Snøhetta. “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 order to be considered a Powerhouse plus house, over the course of a 60-day period a building must generate more renewable energy than the total amount of energy it would require to sustain daily operations and to build, produce materials, and demolish the building.

*Powerhouse is a collaboration between Snøhetta, Entra, Skanska, the ZERO Emission Resource Organization, and Asplan Viak for building plus houses.


The Svart hotelCourtesy Snøhetta


The Svart and the nearby glacierCourtesy Snøhetta

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