Forget about Rome or Paris – why not pack a parka and check out the architecture at 78 degrees north on your next European vacation? Norway is making a mark on the architectural world with a stunning new science center in the community of Longyearbyen, Svalbard. The new Svalbard Science Center designed by architects Jarmund/Vigsnæs AS answers the challenges presented by the unforgiving arctic climate with a vibrant copper clad formation lifted up on 390 steel poles, with views to die for.

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The center’s exterior, which boasts a sharp geometry that would usually gain criticism for unnecessary flashiness, is a source of awe. Climactic 3D simulations were conducted to understand the wind and snow movements as they pass through the site. In turn, the slanted edges of the building’s copper shell reflect a well-calculated plan that ensures there will be no hazardous accumulation of snow at any door fronts or windows. The building has also been elevated above steel poles to allow snow and winds to pass freely underneath and to circumvent the absorption of any heat into ground to keep the permanent frost from thawing.

Seeking to create a warm and welcoming haven that shields from the starkness of the snowy months, the architects chose pine and bold colors to provide the interior spaces with a warm glow. An addition to the existing university and research building, the Svalbard Science Center creates a brand new structure with an area of 22,500 square feet. The facility includes space for the Norwegian Polar Institute, a cultural and historic storage area for the Governor of Svalbard, and a new Svalbard Museum.

+ Jarmund/Vigsnæs AS

Via Design Boom