When it opens its doors in 2021, Norway’s new fjord-side hotel will offer its guests breathtaking glacier views and 360-degree panoramas of the Northern Lights, as well as all the active, nature-driven experiences one would expect from spending quality time in this unique environment. However, not only has the project been designed with guests firmly in mind, but the planet too, and the Svart hotel will be the Arctic Circle’s first to achieve so-called Powerhouse status.
Powerhouse is a collaboration of companies dedicated to building energy positive buildings that are designed to produce more energy than they consume, and via renewable sources such as wind, sun and water. Not only will the Svart hotel reduce its yearly energy consumption by approximately 85%, compared to a typical modern hotel, but it will also produce its own energy, and over a 60-year period it will generate more renewable energy than would be required to build, operate and, in theory, demolish it.
The unique circular shape of the building, inspired by the ‘fiskehjell’ – an A-shaped wooden structure used by local fishermen – and the large windows that will dominate the façade will exploit the sun’s energy throughout the day and across the seasons, and given the long summer nights the annual production of solar energy will be significant. Achieving a net-positive energy output will also be aided by rooftop solar panels, as well as geothermal wells that will harness energy from the ground below.
Leaving a minimal environmental footprint has also been an important design consideration, so that the area's rare plant species and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier are preserved. "Nature in the Arctic is fragile and pristine," said Zenul Khan of Oslo-based firm Snøhetta who is collaborating on the project. "We have to respect the beauty of the location and not ruin what makes Svartisen an attraction in the first place." So weather-resistant wooden poles stretching several meters below the surface of the Holandsfjorden fjord will support the hotel’s structure, ensuring that the building physically places a minimal impact on its surroundings, and there are plans to introduce an energy neutral shuttle boat to the hotel from the city of Bodø, as it can only be reached by water.
It was the rise in the region's popularity that inspired the Svart project, and a desire to create more sustainable ways to explore Norway's natural beauty. "By building such a sustainable structure, we thrive to encourage a more sustainable approach to tourism by making our society conscious and aware of the way we live, travel, and experience exotic locations responsibly," said Khan.