The Oslo firm Snøhetta has designed a facility to go up on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, near Longyearbyen, which is the capital of the Svalbard Archipelago, in the Arctic Ocean. The Arc, as it will be called, aims to give visitors access to the Arctic World Archive, which preserves our planet’s digital heritage, and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an underground depot whose mission is to ensure continued crop diversity and food on Earth.
The project presents two volumes. A rectangular block clad in wood and glass accommodates the entrance, the ticket office, and the cafeteria. Striking a contrast with it, a white monolith that looks eroded by the extreme northern climate conditions will contain the exhibition spaces and also an auditorium in its central core. A glass bridge connects the two constructions.