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Snøhetta has revealed plans for a sustainable ring-shaped hotel, that will be nestled at the base of Norway’s Almlifjellet mountain, within the Artic Circle.

The architecture firm claims that Svart Hotel, which takes its name from the nearby Svartisen glacier, will be energy-positive – meaning it will produce more energy than it consumes.

While consumption rates will be 85 per cent lower than contemporary hotels, the building’s solar panels will produce energy, something the architects believe is an “absolute must in the precious arctic environment.”

Working with a handful of other Norwegian companies, Snøhetta began the design process by extensively researching how the hotel could use renewable energy, with the aim of making as little impact on the mountain environment as possible.

“Building in such a precious environment comes with clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site,” said Snøhetta’s founding parter, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, in a statement.

“It was important for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful northern nature.”Mapping the movement of the sun’s rays, the architects decided that a circular structure topped with solar panels would provide optimum levels of light throughout the day and across different seasons.

Recessed terraces have been integrated along the hotel’s facade that shade rooms during the summer, replacing the presence of artificial cooling systems. Fronted by a large window, rooms can also exploit the sun’s thermal energy during the colder weather.

The main body of the hotel is held up by a series of V-shaped wooden poles that extend down into the surrounding Holandsfjorden fjord. Referencing the local vernacular, the poles echo those used to elevate traditional fisherman houses called rorbues.

A boardwalk runs directly underneath the hotel where visitors can stroll in warmer months – in the winter this doubles up as a space to hold boats or kayaks, eliminating the need to erect additional storage facilities that could impact the landscape.

The Svart Hotel has been designed alongside tourism company Arctic Adventure of Norway, engineering and architecture consultants Asplan Vaak, and construction group Skanska. Together with Snøhetta they form a collaborative group called Powerhouse, which build energy-producing buildings they call “plus-houses”.




From the creators of Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews in Warsaw, comes a competition finalist proposal for the new Museum for the Defense and Siege of Leningrad in St. Petersburg. Lahdelma & Mahalmäki Architects, in collaboration with Ralph Appelbaum Associates, designed three main parts: the Thread of Life (museum and exhibitions), the Memorial of Heroes of Leningrad and the Square of Testimony. Thought to have the popular vote, this entry sought to redevelop and reconnect the city of to the park and museum with its Neo-Classical grid.

The designers envision visitors arriving on the north end of the site to a lush riverside hilltop. Raised earth hides not only the parking but also bus stops and road noise as well, giving the memorial a more peaceful atmosphere. Three sunken floors create the cavernous space for the Thread of Life museum and exhibitions. From there, visitors climb up a white staircase to see the rest of the golden museum reaching for the sky above them and panoramic views of St. Petersburg. The floating gold box holds archives, temporary exhibitions, reading rooms, research spaces, lecture halls and more.

A low wall, Memorial of Heroes of Leningrad acts as connector axis for the city and memorial. Set apart from the park is the Square of Testimony. An inverted pyramid, the square is a multi-sensory space for meditation and reflection with gentle sounds and views of the parks natural meadow beyond.



Artist Emmanuelle Moureaux used over 100,000 paper number cut-outs to create this multihued installation designed to visualise the passing of time.

On show at the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design in Toyama, Japan, the Colour of Time installation is part of a series of exhibitions that aim to explore the different functions of materials.

Having chosen paper as her main material, Moureaux began observing the relationship between the sensory element of colour-change, and the mathematical element of time.

To combine the two, the Tokyo-based artist opted to create an installation that would visualise the process of time passing.

“The installation superimposes these two elements to visualise and make one feel the flow of time,” explained the museum.

To achieve this, she made 120,000 paper numerical figures from zero to nine, as well as a colon symbol, which she then aligned to form a three-dimensional grid composed of 100 layers.

Each row of numbers denotes a time of day, from sunrise at 6.30am to sun fall at 7.49pm.

Different colours were also used to represent the time of day – resulting in a grid of colour that gets gradually darker to illustrate the transition from day to night.

“Through the tunnel, the sky is tinted with a beautiful gradation changing from pale to deep colours, flowing from time to time,” they said.

“The installation makes one feel the subtle changes in [the] atmosphere through the whole body by travelling the colourful flow of time.”

A rectangular tunnel running through the middle of the installation has benches for visitors to sit down and be immersed in the work.

At the end of the tunnel is a chair titled Miss Blanche, designed by twentieth-century Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata.

“Miss Blanche is placed by the deputy director of Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art & Design, who is also curator of the exhibition, to create the axis to express a deep respect and admiration from Emmanuelle to Shiro Kuramata,” explained the museum.

Colour of Time was on show between 16 November 2017 to 8 January 2018.




New Orleans firm Trahan Architects has completed a visitor centre for an 18th-century plantation in Louisiana, using translucent glazing to blur views of occupants from the outside “like an impressionist painting”.

Trahan Architects’ building provides a gift shop, and exhibition and events space for the Magnolia Mound Plantation House – located in Baton Rouge, near the Mississippi River.

The house was completed in 1791 in the Creole architecture style that dominated the area at the time as a result of French colonisation. It was listed National Register of Historic Places in 1972 due to its significance.

The Creole cottage once sat among 950 acres (384 hectares) of grounds that functioned as plantation for coffee, sugar and tobacco between the late 18th and 19th centuries. Reports claim that up to 79 slaves worked on the site by 1860.

The city of Baton Rouge Since purchased Magnolia Mound Plantation House and its surroundings – at the time down to 16 acres (6.5 hectares) – in 1966, and preserved the site to offer insights into life during this period.

Trahan Architects’ one-storey visitor centre forms the latest addition and was completed in 2013. Embedded into a hill at the base of the site, it is designed to make as little impact on the surroundings as possible.

Translucent glass walls protrude from the slope, while its roof meets the crest and is covered in grass to continue the pathway up the
green hill.

“The minimal intervention seeks to elevate the existing historic buildings and site by establishing a clear threshold for visitors as they circulate around the base of the mound,” said the studio.

“As one transitions through the new visitor center and ascends to the top of the mound, the building merges with the landscape to become unobtrusive and imperceptible.”

Along the front of the pavilion, the roof extends out to reach five staggered glass panels. These create a buffer between a terrace with stone benches and the entrance.

“Translucent channel glass was selected to subtly obscure occupants within and around the new building like an impressionist painting – blurring the distinction between new and old, building and landscape,” Trahan Architects said.

Behind the clouded screens, a transparent glass partition offers clearer views into the gift shop.

Inside, a central white volume contains administration facilities and toilets. A narrow pathway runs alongside to lead to the multipurpose room for various activities and the exhibition space, which both occupy the rear of the building.

The architects also looked to the work of famous American minimalist artists Donald Judd and Sol Lewitt to design a series of solid white aluminium units, which provide display cabinets and storage units for the shop. The pared-back aesthetic is completed with pale stone flooring.


Starting from the West, industrial revolution had began to affect the change of times throughout the world since the 1760s; the invention and application of the new power machine—steam engine marked the beginning of the Age of Steam. Plants facilities with oil tanks and steel pipes had become an important symbol of that glorious age, what’s more, what hidden behind these symbols is the power that starts the capitalist world system.With the advent and popularity of computers in the 21st century, the invisible Information Age deduced and changed the humanity and commercial mode of this physical world. Powerlong Ideas Lab hopes to be a lab where more information for learning are created and spread. And hoping to complete the joint research and development of information technology by consumers and information technology creators, it explores the hidden business value of this era through a multifunctional space.There is no iconic symbols for Information Age, the amount and efficiency of information is the first perception. So while designing this lab, we based on and mapped the symbol of the previous era, for that they share something alike: for example, they are both equipped with subversive technology and research and both are very enlightening to the development of business.For the shape of the whole space, though we take factories of the Age of Steam as the prototype, we cut off the complex parts, and kept only the most basic functional parts, which includes practical compositions such as reaction tanks, energy delivery pipes and walking platforms for engineers. These main functional parts also reflect corresponding activities which are going to happen here.
We demolished the floor slabs in the original two storied space, and turn it into a space of 8 or 9 meters’ high. We restored the ground space with a minimalist approach, and designed devices which offers new retail experience in the “reaction tanks”. Consumers could have different new consumption experience brought by different devices in different tanks. And we reconstructed the floor slab in the 4-5meters high space; they are interweaved with the “reaction tanks” we restored and acted as shared work and transportation platform for R&D staffs on the second floor. In this way, staffs are working on the platforms in the air while consumers downstairs are experiencing commercial experience brought by new technology and informationization. The sight interaction in this high space makes them feel the existence of each other and makes the space more interesting.“Energy delivery pipes” are used to hide wires as well as cables of the air conditioning, so industrial designs exposed in the space are simplified by this refined way of decoration, utilities pipelines which should have been exposed in the space are hidden perfectly in this post-built “energy deliver pipes”. For parts of the space, such tubes are used on the ground, and a series of tables and chairs are made according to the shape of the tubes, this adds to the whole space a sense of layering and creates different sense of composition for this space.The designer hopes to express her revolutionary feelings in this Information Age through this concept design. Clean and cool concrete is applied to depicts the concise and efficient character of this space. And through vertical generatrix and sight line, she hopes to create a multifunctional composite office and commercial model, where R&D staffs can share the space while consumers can enjoy the same art space.
The Stage of Forest at Songhua Lake Resort of Jilin, China, is situated on a hillside between the forest and the slope.
The site is surrounded by luscious greenery in summer and covered by an overwhelming white snow in winter. As is a delicate site for a “Land(scape) Mark”, one whose indefinite programming demands a careful degree of deliberation. The location and triangle shape of the “stage” was only determined after precise examination and deduction of the site condition, to minimize the impact for the existing vegetation and to maximize the view on the platform. While sitting on the hill, it is facing the Songhua lake at a distance, who is famous for the rime in its surrounding areas.As one descends from the mountain top, the “Stage” rises slowly above the undulating landscape, in a way like a piece of leaf floating on the water. Positioned with the 2 side-line along the approaching eyesight of the visitors from two routes: the trail in the woods and the ski-slope. Not only it doesn’t obstruct the view to the lake and mountains, it even enhances the experience by inducing ever-changing tension between the cantilever and the surrounding landscape. The entire “stage” is like growing out from the mongolian oak forest, and cantilevering on top of the ski-slope. Because the orientation of the distant view (horizontal unfolding lake), and the close view (vertical extending slope) is at a different angle, the building results in a twisted gesture between the wood “stage” and the concrete “base”.The building combined rough materiality with its sensuous form. Seen from afar, the “stage” is a dark, free-floating monolith in the landscape, with a heavy concrete “base”. Come closer, the reflection on the charred cedar shingles (Shou-Sugi-Ban) becomes faintly perceptible – even turns silvery with the changing angle of sunlight. After one meandering through the forest boardwalk and finally arriving in front of it, the chapped surface of the shingles and the wood texture of the cast concrete become tangible.The interior is choreographed through a carefully plotted experience. Upon entering the concrete vestibule, in the moment your eye adjusts to the dimmed light, a vertical view along the stretching slope will catch you first, then a narrow staircase hints the only way of elevating. When you arrive at the platform level and turn around, what suddenly opens up to you is a great panoramic view of the Songhua lake, winding in-between the hills, clear or hazed by with the ever-changing mist, an exceptional vista that is breathtakingly beautiful and magical.

Located in the small village of Jukkasjärvi 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, Sweden’s ICEHOTEL is the world’s largest ice structure, constructed each year from over 4000 tonnes of ice and snow.With winter now officially underway in the Northern Hemisphere, the 2017-2018 version of the ICEHOTEL is now open. In addition to a new permanent section of the hotel kept cool year round by solar energy, for this year’s iteration, the hotel invited 36 artists from 17 countries to design the structure’s main spaces and guest rooms, including new surreal “art suites” that truly transport visitors into a otherworldly winter wonderland.
Check out some of the wildest ones below.

House in Apulo

On the outskirts of Bogota and other cities and towns in Colombia, particularly in temperate zones, more and more houses are rising as holiday or second homes for city dwellers. This represents an interesting opportunity for architects but, above all, a challenge because these constructions have an important impact on the rural landscape and on local culture.
With this in mind, the concept of this project is to return to the values ​​of local vernacular building techniques and architectural typologies. The House in Apulo -following the principles of the constructions of the region-, has a double cover: the first one in concrete slabs to close the rooms and to protect from bats and insects and the second, as a shell for living, dining and cooking areas.The roof structure to shape the entire interior space is in laminated pine wood with bamboo shoots and locally obtained Palma Amarga or Calicá palm. The beautiful “Apretado” (Tightened) type ofinstallation of palm leaves is resistant to hard winds, isolates from heat and can easily be replaced every 15 to 20 years when needed.Next to each one of the dormitories there is bathroom, with an open-air shower overlooking the garden. There is also a mezzanine, above the dormitories, which is accessed by a steep steal sculpture-stair.
Chongqing Sunac One Central Mansion Sales Pavillion
We are trying to find a way to engage new technology, materials, ideas to excavate the essence of Chinese architectural culture, to create a new form of Chinese architecture adapting to the development of modern era, to return the value of Chinese culture. We hope to use design to regain the essence of Chinese culture and reshape our cultural self-confidence.SUNAC as one of the largest developers in China will develop a luxury apartment project in Chongqing located on Huxie Road. We are committed to design their sales office. Based on the regulation, the sales office will be converted into a kindergarten after the use as a sales office.The difficulty of the project is that two different functions have completely different requirements for space.The difficulty of the project is that two different functions have completely different requirements for space, form and appearance. The strategy we adopted is to add another layer of removable green skin, the metal mesh, outside the building for sustainable and imagery purpose.This layer of skin creates an unique facade of the sales office which is conveyed by the core concept of Chinese architecture from the artistic conception of the expression. Different from the western architecture which are based on stone masonry construction system, ancient Chinese architecture does not use geometric form as the basis of architectural performance, in contrary, the Chinese-style wood structure emphasis more on the expression of architectural logic following the natural law.Structural components such as pillars, beams, brackets, rafters, Purlin and so on are all exposed, all comply with the natural mechanics of the law, so it will appear without affectation, especially the roof of the arc. The overhangs of the eaves forms the gray space and it creates a vague zone merging the nature and building into one to achieve the symbiotic state of man and nature. The concept of the sales office is in the inheritance of such a concept.The use of metal fabric as the secondary skin forms a sustainable curtain to protect the building from direct sunlight for energy saving. Also the internal and external space are linked visually and spatially in an elegant transition. Translucent materials presented by the looming visual blur convey a rich level of the depth in space.At the same time, the graceful arc of metal fabric formed by natural mechanical logic salutes the Chinese architecture which conforms to the logic of natural structure. The elegant modern steel structure are exposed. The translucency together with elegant landscape creates a poetic zen space. Although the architectural form and the material are modern, but the core idea is the same as Chinese architecture philosophy. The Tao Nature, formless is the ultimate sophistication.
Stay in Gladstone’s Library
This would be a dream come true for us at Plan Magazine!
Falling asleep in a library is typically the hallmark of an overstressed student, slumped over a desk piled with books in a fit of exam-induced exhaustion. But at this library in a small Welsh village, sleeping among the books is part of the appeal.Gladstone Library is the only residential library in the United Kingdom. After browsing the more than 150,000 items in its collection and spending the day snuggled atop the plush chairs, stayover guests can retire to one of the 26 boutique bedrooms on site.Guests have access to the reading rooms until 10 p.m., a full five hours after they close to the public. They can even bring a book back to their room with them (except for those in the Gladstone Foundation Collection) for a bit of bedside reading.The library houses the collection of its founder, former four-time Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, who wanted to ensure his 32,000 books remained in Wales after his death instead of going to Oxford or somewhere in London. He particularly wanted to make sure those who were less financially fortunate had access to his collection.While in his eighties, Gladstone himself (with the help of his valet and one of his daughters) wheeled over 20,000 of his books to the library that would become their new home. He then stocked the shelves using his own catalogue system. Many of the pages of his thousands of books, which are available for visitors to browse, contain his thoughts and annotations scrawled in the margins.After his death, Gladstone’s family continued to turn his vision of transforming his personal collection into something the public could enjoy into reality. The residential wing opened in 1906, and guest have been cozying up among the books in the century since.www.atlasobscura.com