Snohetta, Norwegian architecture firm in collaboration with Arctic Adventures of Norway, Asplan Viak and Skanska, has designed the world’s first Powerhouse hotel, at the foot of the Svartisen glacier. The hotel is situated just above the Arctic Circle. 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. The hotel, named “Svart”, will also become the world’s northernmost Powerhouse building. The hotel is scheduled for completion in 2021.
To reach the Powerhouse standard, several cutting-edge design choices have been made. For example, the architects have 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. Due to the long summer nights of this area, the annual production of solar energy will be significant.
Secluded terraces will provide a shadow play in the facade of the hotel while also ensuring privacy. 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 facade 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.
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 a panoramic view of the fjord and an experience of living in proximity with nature.
The construction 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 a minimal footprint in the pristine nature, and gives the building an almost transparent appearance.