The new Snøhetta-designed hotel sits on stilts in the water by Svartisen in Nordland. Photo: Snøhetta/Plompmozes
The new Snøhetta-designed hotel sits on stilts in the water by Svartisen in Nordland. Photo: Snøhetta/Plompmozes


A beautiful new design hotel at Svartisen

The Snøhetta firm of architects has designed a spectacular new hotel right by the Svartisen glacier. Check-in is scheduled to open in 2021.

Snøhetta is behind signature buildings such as the library of Alexandria in Egypt and the opera building in Oslo. Now they’ve designed the Svart hotel, which is planned to be built next to the Svartisen glacier, not far from Bodø. The circular body of the building extends from the shore at the foot of the Almlifjellet mountain out into Holandsfjorden and is inspired by the building methods used to construct fishermen’s huts and fish-drying racks. It will stand on wooden stilts that will act as a jetty, so you can paddle under the hotel at both high and low tide. The stilts help to minimize the building’s footprint on the landscape, while also giving it a virtually transparent quality. It offers a panoramic view of the Svartisen glacier.

Eco-friendly and energy-smart hotel

The new hotel will be energy positive and according to the developer, Miris Eiendom, will use 87% less energy than an equivalent hotel. This will be the first hotel to be certified under the so-called Powerhouse construction standard, which means the building generates energy. It will also be the world’s northernmost Powerhouse building.

“Construction in an environment as precious as the one at Svartisen comes with some very clear demands on us as architects,” Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founding partner of Snøhetta, says in a press release. “We have to look after the natural beauty of the area and protect the flora and fauna. It is extremely important to us that Svart leaves a minimal footprint in the unspoiled countryside of northern Norway. Creating an energy-positive hotel, with appropriately considerate operation, has been absolutely crucial in order to create a tourist attraction with a focus on sustainability and respect for the rare plant species, the pure glacial waters and the blue ice in the unique environment around the hotel.”

Travel journalist Christine Baglo of Mediehuset Dagsavisen says that the new hotel has the power to attract more tourists to the area and create new jobs. 

 “The creation of a world-class eco-friendly hotel at Svartisen can give a major boost to the entire Helgeland region, which up to now has lain in the shadow of more well-known regions such as Lofoten, Vesterålen and Tromsø,” Baglo tells Scandinavian Traveler. “It will also be able to contribute to tourism throughout the year and provide the region with more year-round jobs. The hotel lies in a sensitive natural area, however, so it’s important that we also establish an environmentally friendly transport option to the hotel.”

The new Svart hotel by the glacier of the same name can attract tourists to Nordland. Photo: Snøhetta/Plompmozes

Architecture that uses the passage of the sun

The architects have mapped how the sunlight falls on the site sequentially over the course of the year in order to optimize the harvesting of natural energy. Their findings have provided the basis for the hotel’s circular design and all the hotel rooms, restaurants and communal terraces are strategically positioned so as to make optimum use of the sun’s energy throughout the day and the seasons. The hotel’s roof is covered with locally manufactured solar panels. The terraces are set back to provide interesting shadow play in the façade, while also screening the view into neighboring rooms around the entire building. The façade design ensures protection from the sun’s rays when it’s high in the sky, reducing the need for air conditioning to cool the rooms.  The hotel’s many windows also let in plenty of light at times of the year when the sun is low in the sky, helping to harvest the heat energy. The building also looks beautiful, standing understatedly out there in the water. You may feel like you’re staying in the very heart of nature.

This is Svartisen

Svartisen is Norway’s second-largest glacier and covers an area of approximately 370km2. The glacier extends across the municipalities of Rana, Meløy and Rødøy in Nordland county. Over 25,000 people visit the glacier every year. The Brestua restaurant offers packed lunches as well as lunch and dinner, according to Wikipedia.no

Read more: svart.no

Did you find this article inspiring?

Give it a thumbs up!


Book trip

Use your points

From20,000 Round trip

Spend points


Close map


From the article

Share this tips


Looking for something special?

Filter your search by