Brendeland & Kristoffersen. Svalbard Housing. Longyearbyen. Norway

September 05, 2011

Brendeland & Kristoffersen. Svalbard Housing. Longyearbyen. Norway

These three dwelling units serve as accommodation for employees of the mining company which runs this coal-mining enclave at the gateway to the North Pole. The project affords a comfortable space which responds to the harsh living conditions in a place where the polar night runs from October through to February.

The three dwelling units have a constant cross-section, but the floor plan varies in width (3,400, 5,000 and 5,800 mm), hence containing more or less bedrooms and a bigger or smaller living area. Each dwelling unit has three levels in a volume which normally accepts only two storeys. The bedrooms are on the bottom and top floors while the living areas take up the level in between. A steep steel staircase leads up to the bedrooms on the upper level, closed with a sloping partition like that used by the Sami people in the North of Scandinavia and in Russia.

The desert climate, having hardly any rainfall throughout the year, has meant that the guttering and the eaves could be removed leaving a clean exterior volume. The wood cladding has been painted red according to the regulations of the Norwegian government concerning this enclave. In fact, the colour of the facades in Longyearbyen is a political issue: they are an attempt to give this territory a Scandinavian character amid the disputes with Russia over the sovereignty of the island.

 

 

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