Snøhetta Designs Energy-Positive Hotel in the Arctic Circle

The Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta, which also came up with the plans behind Europe’s first underwater restaurant, has shared designs for a first-of-its-kind, energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle. Floating at the foot of the Svartisen Glacier, the Svart Powerhouse Hotel is the first of its kind.

Located at the foot of Norway’s second largest glacier, the circular Svart hotel will offer panoramic 360-degree views of the fjord. Snøhetta’s Svart hotel is aiming to preserve the natural beauty by keeping its environmental footprint to a minimum.

Using solar panels and strategic positioning, the building harvests its own energy allowing it to operate on about 85% less energy than standard hotels. The façades protect against insulation from the sun in the summer when the sun is high in the sky, removing the need for artificial cooling. During winter months, when the sun is low, large windows allow for the sun’s natural thermal energy to enter the structure, providing maximum insulation, as the circular design of the hotel, allows hotel rooms, restaurants and terraces to be strategically placed, and utilize the sun’s energy throughout the day and seasons.

“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,” said Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founding partner of Snøhetta. “It was important for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful Northern nature. 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 Svart Hotel has been designed alongside tourism company Arctic Adventure of Norway, engineering and architecture consultants Asplan Vaak, construction group Skanska, and real estate company Entra.