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By Alex Martin | December 19 2019
The Holandsfjorden fjord sits deep within Norway’s Arctic circle. Its crystal-clear waters regularly reflect the spectacular Northern Lights back into space while the Svartisen glacier dominates the background. Right now, it is a spectacular and somewhat lifeless place, but soon it will be home to an awe-inspiring hotel.
Plans are afoot to build a luxury hotel atop the Holandsfjorden fjord at the base of the Svartisen glacier itself. The aptly named Svart Hotel will bring the utmost comfort to one of the most remote places in Europe, but its biggest challenge is keeping the surrounding environment as pristine as possible. To do that, it has committed to becoming the world’s first energy-positive hotel, meaning it will produce more energy than it needs to operate.
Its ground-breaking design will allow the hotel to consume 85 percent less energy than a traditional hotel of its size. Several cutting-edge design features have been incorporated to achieve energy-positivity. The hotel’s roof will be clad with solar panels (which are themselves produced using hydro-energy) while energy-intensive materials like steel and concrete have been avoided as much as possible.
Architects working on the project incorporated research into how solar radiation behaves in this specific mountainous region throughout the year. The findings influenced the design of the hotel, with hotel rooms, restaurants and terraces strategically placed within a circular design to exploit the sun’s energy no matter the time of day or season.
Its glass-fronted circular design will provide panoramic views of the fjord, the glacier and, in the winter months, the Northern Lights. The design has taken inspiration from a traditional Norweigian Fiskenhjell, a shed-like structure used to dry fish. It will be held above the water with poles that stretch several meters below the fjord’s surface, dissolving the boundary between land and water.
Guests at Svart Hotel will be able to discover the science and technology behind it in its very own education center and design laboratory. Scientists will continue to work on-site after its opening as they work to take the hotel completely off-grid within its first five years of operation. It also wants to achieve carbon-neutrality and zero-waste status in the same timeframe.
Svart Hotel will have 99 rooms, four restaurants and a 3,300 sq foot spa. The restaurants will range from a rustic and authentic offering to a gourmet tasting menu, but all will offer local, home-grown and foraged produce as much as possible. Guests will also be invited to participate in the preparation of their gourmet meals, from mountain-side to plate.
There will be a big emphasis on the indoor-out spa, which will offer a variety of holistic treatments, from the traditional and Norwegian, to the medically and technologically cutting-edge. There will also be year-round holistic experiences, such as practicing yoga in the midnight sun and foraging in the surrounding wildlands.