Svalbard, one of the northernmost and faraway inhabited bodies of land in the world, has become an unlikely architectural destination in recent years. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, a bunker buried deep within the permafrost to protect nearly one million seed species in the event of global catastrophe, was not intended as a tourist attraction when it was first completed by Snøhetta in 2008. Yet, because its mission and dramatically-designed entranceway have caught global attention, Snøhetta was recently called upon once again to design The Arc, a visitors’ center for the building often described as a life raft for biodiversity. The two buildings constituting The Arc have distinctly opposing aesthetic relationships to the surrounding landscape. The entrance building will be a low-slung, modestly proportioned boxy structure clad with mirrors to blend into the surroundings, and will contain basic visitor functions and a cafe. The exhibition hall, on the other hand, will be set within a monolithic, silo-like tower that will make its presence felt from great distances. The tower's striated exterior texture is designed to resemble layers of earth after excavation, recalling the lengths taken to protect the seeds in the nearby vault. The exhibition hall will contain a digital archive detailing the contents of the vault, an auditorium, and a “ceremony room” (set a few degrees warmer than the other rooms, which will house a deciduous tree like those that once commonly grew in Svalbard over 56 million years ago. According to Snøhetta, the tree “is both a symbol of the past and a call to action—a living icon for global warming and our responsibility to preserve the Arctic, and all of nature, for future generations.” Visitors will transition from the first space to the second via a glass-enclosed bridge that will frame views of the landscape while simulating “the experience of going from a familiar entrance into a real vault inside the permafrost of Svalbard,” according to the architects. Construction is expected to begin next year and be completed by 2022.
Posts tagged with "Norway":
The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)-designed “The Twist” has opened in Jevnaker, Norway, bridging a 10,700-square-foot art museum across two riverbanks in northern Europe’s largest sculpture park. The project was first announced in 2011, and while this isn’t the first time BIG has put a twist on the traditional building massing, it’s certainly their most daring entry into the genre. The Twist is now the second bridge in the Kistefos Sculpture Park and doubles the amount of indoor exhibition space available to the institution. Both sides of the building, from the vertically oriented, double-height portion to the south, to the horizontal passage to the north, serve as main entrances. Both are accessible through pedestrian bridges that wend up through the woods to their respective sides of the river, with The Twist serving to connect them into one circuitous loop through the sculpture park. Design-wise, BIG opted to create a visual homogeny between the museum’s interior and exterior. Outside, the building is sheathed in long, 15-inch-wide, staggered aluminum panels, while the interior is clad in 3-inch-wide fir slats painted white on the walls, floor, and ceiling—making the transition as one rotates into another seamless. At the center, as the building begins its 90-degree twist, a nascent skylight “unzips” and turns with the rest of the building to form floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a panoramic view of the river The Twist sits over. “The Twist is a hybrid spanning several traditional categories: it’s a museum, it’s a bridge, it’s an inhabitable sculpture,” said Bjarke Ingels in a press release. “As a bridge it reconfigures the sculpture park turning the journey through the park into a continuous loop. As a museum it connects two distinct spaces–an introverted vertical gallery and an extraverted horizontal gallery with panoramic views across the river. A third space is created through the blatant translation between these two galleries creating the namesake twist. The resultant form becomes another sculpture among the sculptures of the park.” The massing of the building naturally delineates it into three different gallery sections. The tall portion, with no natural light, the sculptural middle where the building is mid-twist, and the daylight-lit flatter portion at the north. Visitors can descend beneath the northern horizontal section to access the museum’s basement and bathrooms, bringing them level with the river. Such a complicated project necessitated a great amount of collaboration, and BIG cites “Element Arkitekter, AKT II, Rambøll, Bladt Industries, Max Fordham and Davis Langdon” as their partners in realizing The Twist.
A Nordic structure has claimed the title of world’s tallest timber building. Mjøstårnet by Voll Arkitekter is a 280-foot-tall tower in Brumunddal, Norway, constructed entirely out of cross-laminated timber. It’s the third tallest building in the country and features 18 stories of office space, apartments, a hotel, a ground-floor restaurant, and an adjoining public bath. Designed like a monumental wooden box planted atop Brumunddal’s open, lakeside landscape, Mjøstårnet stands as a symbol of the “green shift.” It’s all wood—even it’s elevators are built from CLT and its large-scale interior trusses, as well as the structural columns, are glulam. The architects used local-sourced materials crafted from local suppliers to build the soaring structure, which features a series of wooden fins on its western facade and an open-air rooftop with a sculptural timber topper. Scandinavian company Moelven Limtre, owner of 17 sawmills in Norway and Sweden, supplied the wood and served as the Mjøstårnet’s structural engineer. The mixed-use project is owned by AB Invest, a Jordanian investment group, and beats out Brock Commons at the University of British Columbia by 90 feet. Though the Vancouver-based student housing project also stretches 18 stories high and is actually larger than Mjøstårnet in overall square feet, the Nordic building bests it in height. Last week, 3XN released renderings for what will soon become North America’s tallest mass timber office building, T3 Bayside. Imagined for Toronto’s burgeoning waterfront community, it’s slated to rise just 138 feet.
Europe’s first underwater restaurant is complete and now welcoming guests below the North Sea in Lindesnes, Norway. The Snøhetta-designed “Under” lies partially submerged on the coast of southern Norway, terminating in a dining room 16 feet below the ocean’s surface. The restaurant and marine biology research station is wrapped in thick concrete for its entire length, creating an imposing, 111-foot-long “periscope.” The concrete at the lowest portion is one-and-a-half feet thick feet and surrounds a 36-foot-long, 11-foot-tall window wall in the dining room that provides guests with a view of the ocean floor. The structure’s finish was kept deliberately coarse to encourage mussels to anchor to the building, so that the structure will eventually grow into a reef and purify the surrounding water. Construction on the concrete monolith was done on a barge off-shore before the structure was lifted to its final home and tilted into place. Inside, Snøhetta chose to utilize materials that intentionally emphasize the transition from Lindesnes’s harsh environment to the dreamy marine world below. The oak-wrapped entrance gives way to ceiling panels clad in textile that gradually change color, which Snøhetta claims is “a metaphor for the journey of descending from land to sea.” Speckled terrazzo floors reference the mottled sea floor visible from the dining area. Under is expected to welcome 35-to-40 diners every evening, but when not in use as a restaurant, the building will act as a hub for studying the local marine life. The sea around Lindesnes is extremely biodiverse, and researchers will use an array of cameras and sensors mounted on the facade to document the population and behavior of local fish. That information will in part be used by the kitchen to help determine how to sustainably harvest sea life from the surrounding area. Interested in dining underwater and don’t mind a trip to Norway? Under is now taking reservations.
Brought to you with support fromIn 2015, the Norwegian Trekking Association announced a decision to construct two warming huts along the mountains that ring the town of Hammerfest to encourage hiking for both residents and tourists. The project brief called for a straightforward structure with a working wood-burning stove, an excellent view of the surrounding landscape, and suitability for the mountainous terrain. Norwegian-based practice SPINN Arkitekter and Britain’s Format Engineers answered this call with a cross-laminated timber shell with exterior Kebony panels.
Rhino Kangaroo and Grasshopper files, the team was able to craft a series of visual models for the project and a series of components that could be easily transported across the mountainous terrain for erection. "Snow simulations were performed to ensure that the entrance will remain snow-free as intended," said the design team. "Structural forces between the panels were determined to specify the correct type of screws and fasteners for the construction. Additionally, 3-D printing was used extensively to test out how the construction would fit together, and to test cladding options for the exterior." The rock-like cabins effectively consist of three layers: a 3-inch-thick CLT shell, a 1/8-inch-thick membrane, and a Kebony skin with a thickness measuring just under 1 inch. A system of frames and blocks are located between the exterior cladding and the CLT core. Two sets of 3.5-inch-thick screws are found on each tile edge, connecting to adjacent tiles and the overall structure. An initial prototype of the $100,000 cabin was constructed in a controlled warehouse environment to allow for the uninterrupted testing of component assembly. Over the course of four workdays, two groups of volunteers assembled the cabin's shell and cut the cladding panels. Following construction, the cabin was split in two and transported via flatbed truck to the site and craned into position for final assembly. Construction of the second cabin is currently in the works.One of the initial challenges of the project was to design a form that both blended in with the rugged setting and endure the harsh mountainous weather conditions. The first step in addressing these conditions called for the 3-D mapping of the two sites with a drone and photogrammetry software. With this territorial information plugged into
A $47 billion proposal to link together Norway’s wild western coastline is the nation’s largest and toughest infrastructure project yet, according to NPR. The project's new highway would connect Oslo in the southeast to the coastal cities of Bergen, Stavanger, Alesund, and Trondheim, replacing numerous ferries with tunnels and bridges. But because of challenging geography, architects and civil engineers have been forced to develop new and inventive ideas to complete the route. After decades of building roads all over the country, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) understands the nation's waterways, full of endless mazes of fjords and lakes, were not designed to be conquered by the automobile. And with its freezing weather and rugged mountain soil, only a select especially acclimated number of people inhabit this area of Scandinavia—a number that decreases yearly. Most attribute depopulation in these areas to a lack of accessibility. All local road transportation relies on small highways that crisscross the region’s valleys, and the only way to navigate past most waterways is by ferry, which can take upwards of 45 minutes each; in some areas, driving to the neighboring city can require three ferry trips. Mayor Martin Kleppe of Tysnes, a region of rural municipalities located on an archipelago off the coast, told NPR that, "The ferry is a beautiful trip, but it's more an obstacle than a good connection." Tysnes's population has decreased by 50 percent over the last century, a decline the project is meant to counter. But where there's a challenge, there's a solution. The renderings and video released by the NPRA for the project depict some grand ideas—suspension bridges, tunnels, underground junctions—to link all waterways, connect remote island towns, and drastically improve accessibility to the region from the rest of Scandinavia. If completed, the project would contain a number of record-breaking engineering marvels: the suspension bridge at Sognefjord, for example, would have 1,500-foot-high towers and its 12,100-foot-long span would dwarf even the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and the Millau Viaduct. But it is not all figured out quite yet. The NPRA's greatest challenge is at the Sula fjord, the deepest and the widest of them all, and an important shipping route. To cross the 3 miles of water while leaving the 66-foot-high clearance for boats to pass, engineers stand with two likely proposals. The first is a rather awkward three-tower suspension bridge. The two exterior towers would be placed on land, the center tower being anchored to the seafloor. The second proposal is the first of its kind in the world: a submerged tunnel tethered not to the seabed below, but above to floating pontoons. While many other underwater tunnels already connect vast waterways—those of Chesapeake Bay, from Copenhagen to Malmö, and Hong Kong to Macau, for instance—one that floats could open new doors in the civil engineering world. A project of this magnitude is going to not only make a massive mark on Norway’s majestic landscape and make life easier for its residents, but it will also open the area to the rest of the world. This endeavor may put the global spotlight on the far north.
Snøhetta has recently finished work on a pair of cabins for healing in the Norwegian woods. The Outdoor Care Retreats, as the structures are known, are connected to local hospitals and are places where patients dealing with long-term illnesses can go to relax in natural settings. In a statement, child psychologist Maren Østvold Lindheim at the Oslo University Hospital said, "Nature provides spontaneous joy and helps patients relax. Being in natural surroundings brings them a renewed calm that they can bring back with them into the hospital. In this sense, the Outdoor Care Retreat helps motivate patients to get through treatment and contribute to better disease management." The cabins each provide about 375 square feet for patients to sit, recline, receive treatments, and relax. Interiors are clad in oak paneling and have large operable windows meant to create a strong connection to nature. The Friluftssykehuset Kristiansand, located near the Sørlandet Hospital Kristiansand, is shown in the above images. The other cabin, the Friluftssykehuset Rikshospitale, is close to the Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet.
Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) and Norway-based A-Lab have been chosen to design the new Fornbuporten and Fornebu Senter metro stations in Oslo, Norway. Aside from being Norway's capital, Oslo is known for its innovative architecture, like Snøhetta's award-winning Oslo Opera House, and rich past as a gateway for shipping and maritime trade in Europe. The Fornebubanen metro line and its accompanying stations will only add to Oslo’s cultural appeal, serving as a vital new mode of public transit and connecting up-and-coming neighborhoods to the city center. The five-mile-long Fornebubanen metro line will run through an underground tunnel and connect to six stations, two of which will be designed by ZHA. Those two stations are intended to reflect Norway’s breathtaking landscape—characterized by hilly islands, rocky glaciers, and northern lights. At the Fornebu Senter station, buildings will be carved to resemble mountains and fjords, their canyon-like curves directing the flow of commuters to and from the street. The Fornbuporten station will contain two public spaces designed to geometrically mimic the dramatic landscape of Norway, including an oval canopy and civic park to the north and a layered, orthogonal pavilion to the south. Both stations will be flooded with moody, celestial lighting that varies depending on the time of day, symbolizing the mutable Oslo sky while uplifting passengers’ spirits. According to ZHA, it will take only 12 minutes to travel to the city center once all six stations are completed. The construction of the Fornebubanen metro line will be one of Oslo’s most impressive undertakings, revolutionizing the city and bringing communities together. Construction will likely begin in 2020 and top out by 2025.
Snøhetta's 'death house' has, well, died. Norwegian newspaper The Local reported that the Oslo city council recently voted to block the controversial house because it was too close to Edvard Munch's historic studio. The house had been designed for Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, who is no stranger to controversy. His works have been described as racist and misogynist, and he has drawn accusations of promoting pedophilia for depicting semi-naked young boys. The house, officially titled A House to Die In, was the result of a collaboration between Melgaard and the Norwegian firm and was intended to be part-sculpture, part-home for the artist and his parents. The team attempted to translate the artist's work into building form for the project. Much like Melgaard's work, the structure was visually jarring and contained a mashup of various forms. An angular mass that was intended to have been clad in charred wood would have rested atop a series of white biomorphic columns. According to The Local, the city councilors did not object to the form so much as the fact that the building would have taken over formerly open public space. “We want the site where the death house was intended to be placed to remain a green area for the benefit of the local population, and we encourage Bjarne to find a new site for the project," they said.
After tackling an underwater restaurant in the south of Norway late last year, Snøhetta has unveiled plans for a “floating” hotel in the country’s north. “Svart,” named after the adjacent Svartisen glacier, will produce more energy than it consumes thanks to the Arctic Circle’s 24 hours of sunlight during the summer months. Reminiscent of the space-aged Apple Park doughnut, the ring-shaped Svart will rise from the waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord via crisscrossed timber columns and would provide guests with panoramic views of the lake and surrounding Almlifjellet mountain range. A round, wooden boardwalk will be suspended between the support struts and guests can stroll above the lake in the summer months; the path will be used for canoe storage in the winter, negating the need for an additional boathouse. The circular construction references Norwegian vernacular architecture, and draws inspiration from both the “fiskehjell” (a wooden, A-shaped structure for drying fish) and the “rorbue” (a type of traditional seasonal house used by fishermen), as fishing poles informed the wooden support design. Wood panels will also be used to clad the hotel’s exterior. As part of preserving the fragile natural landscape around the hotel, Svart will generate all of its electricity on site. Meeting Powerhouse standards (a collaboration meant to stoke energy positive building construction) will be accomplished both through design as well as technology. The hotel’s circular edge is rimmed with private terraces, which will set the building’s façade back and shade against solar insolation in the summertime, while the floor-to-ceiling windows will let sunlight passively heat the interior in the winter. The roof will be clad in locally produced solar panels, made with clean hydroelectric power, and the building will be constructed from materials with a “low embodied energy,” such as wood, meaning that a minimum amount of energy went into producing them. In designing the shape of the building’s roof, Snøhetta optimized the panels’ orientation to best take advantage of the “midnight sun” effect, where the sun never sets during the summer months in the Arctic Circle. Geothermal wells connected to heat pumps will warm the building in the colder months. Altogether Snøhetta estimates that Svart will use up to 85 percent less energy than a hotel of comparable size. “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,” said Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founding Partner at Snøhetta, in a press release. Svart is being developed in collaboration with tourism company Arctic Adventure of Norway, consulting firm Asplan Viak, and Skanska. Together the four companies make up Powerhouse, a group dedicated to advancing the construction of “plus houses,” buildings that produce more energy than they consume over a 60-year period, including the usage of building and demolishing the structure. No estimated completion date has been given at the time of writing.
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Snøhetta’s design for the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD) consolidates six previously scattered academic buildings into one multi-use cross-disciplinary building. The cultural landmark offers new public space and symbolic connectivity between the university and its Norwegian town. The architects sought to produce a facility that offered an “ideal and malleable space for artistic expression." They utilized robust, durable materials to withstand harsh workshop-like interior environments and a climate that is notoriously rainy. “The objective is to free students and staff from limitations by surfaces and materials,” said Snøhetta in a recent press release. KMD pairs two axes: an internal corridor dedicated to students and staff, and an external corridor open to the public. The two spaces intersect each other, forming what the architects call one of the most prominent features of the building: a 14,000-square-foot project hall. “It is here, in the transition zone between the public and the private sphere of the school, that the building offers exciting opportunities for students, professors, and visitors to connect, discover, and learn from one another.” The building’s entrance is connected to a large outdoor public plaza, which together with the large glass wall of the project hall, makes KMD an inviting and open building in dialogue with the city center of Bergen. The building envelope features over 900 panels of pre-fabricated raw aluminum panels, specifically designed in variable dimensions and depths to produce a dynamic composition. The panels feature a custom patterning developed by Snøhetta and custom-made by local manufacturer Metha, based in the city of Røros just south of Trondheim.The aluminum-folded rainscreen cladding panels offset approximately four, six, and eight inches from the insulation line. Each set folds at the same angle, creating variations in the sizing of the shadow gap between the cassettes. By varying the depth of the facade, the building offers unexpected shadows cast by dynamic atmospheric conditions along Norway’s west coast. The architects say durability and robustness were “keywords” that helped guide all decisions made throughout the facade design process. “The rainy and sometimes stormy coastal climate demands all exterior materials to not only withstand harsh conditions but to weather in a way that highlights their unique qualities over time. The crude aluminum surfaces will gradually age and naturally oxidize, heightening the variations in colors and textures.” This robust and playful expression gives great flexibility when planning for windows and lighting conditions. The windows of the building are set at different heights, slipping into Snøhetta’s intentionally varied compositional scheme. This seemingly haphazard positioning allows for opportunistic interior moments where usable wall space and daylighting considerations can be maximized based on programmatic necessities. Large delicately-detailed cantilevered glass volumes, the result of a successful collaboration with Bolseth Glass, interrupt the syncopation of aluminum at key moments in the building layout. Furthermore, a large glass roof aids in the distribution of daylight into the building. The building is currently in its inaugural academic year, having opened this past October 2017.
On the southernmost tip of Norway, diners may soon be able to enjoy their meal under the waves. Snøhetta has revealed designs for a new underwater restaurant called Under. The renderings show a half-sunken concrete shell that rises from the ocean like a ruin. The building will also house a marine life research center, and was designed to co-exist with the marine habitat to eventually become an artificial mussel reef. According to the firm, the restaurant's concrete walls will be more than a yard thick to withstand the force of the ocean, while its smooth outer form is encased in a craggy surface that mussels can latch onto. The artificial mussel reef that forms over time will help to clean the waters and attract more sea life to the area. The underwater portion of the building, which comes to rest directly on the ocean floor 16 feet below sea level, opens at one end with a 36-foot-wide panoramic window that looks out into the ocean "like a sunken periscope." Even the lighting has been designed to co-exist with and encourage marine life, set to dim and also installed on the sea bed itself. The three-story building invites guests to descend from the coastline into the coatcheck area, then below to the champagne bar, with the dining room at the lowest level seating 80 to 100 guests. The menu, of course, features locally-sourced seafood. Beyond the restaurant's operating hours, research teams from Norway and elsewhere will be able to study wild fish behavior through the seasons and experiment with creating optimal conditions for sea life to flourish in proximity to the building, while the pathway to the restaurant will be planted with plaques that inform visitors about local marine biodiversity. While Snøhetta has made prior forays into waterfront and environmentally-conscious architecture, this is the firm's first underwater building.