February 16, 2018

This is Svart: the Most Environmental Building in the World.

When it comes to sleek, modern buildings, Snohetta is something of a powerhouse. The Norwegian-based architecture firm designs stunning structures for their clients while at the same time positioning their architectural illustrations to go viral. The newest project to catch the eyes of bloggers and architecture websites the world round? Snohetta’s ‘Svart’ Powerhouse hotel.

“This hotel is the world’s northernmost Powerhouse building. An energy positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor in creating a sustainable tourist destination.”

An energy optimized design
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 provide a shadow play in the façade 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 façade 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 Svart reduces its yearly energy consumption by approximately 85%, and it also produces its own energy – an absolute “must” in this precious arctic environment.”


is a collaboration between Snøhetta, Entra, Skanska, the ZERO Emission Resource Organization and Asplan Viak. The term “Powerhouse” is used to describe so-called “plus house” buildings built by the Powerhouse collaboration. “Plus houses” are energy producing buildings that, in the course of a 60 year period, will generate more renewable energy than the total amount of energy that would be required to sustain daily operations and to build, produce materials and demolish the building.