Architecture in the cold

An overview of projects, products and exclusive articles about architecture in the cold

Project • By Fantastic NorwayPrivate Houses

Atrium cabin on Vardehaugen

The project is a coastal cabin placed on Vardehaugen, an outcrop by the mouth of the fjord at Grøttingen on the Fosen peninsula. The property is situated 35 meters above sea level in a small depression at the top of the outcrop, with a panoramic view in virtually all directions. The adjacent landscape is dominated by sea, rock, heath, and a sometimes rough coastal climate. The project is a result of the wish of the employers for a cabin custom-made for their family, the characteristic property, and the changing climate in the area. The building is inspired by the traditional Norwegian cluster structures, small villages in which flexible half-climatic outside spaces and a clear social organisation are the leading architectural principles.... More

Project • By Patkau ArchitectsSculptures

Winnipeg Skating Shelters

Winnipeg is a city of 600,000 residents located on the Canadian prairie. It is the coldest city of its size outside of Siberia. Winter can last six months. So learning to celebrate winter - learning to take advantage of the opportunities that winter provides - makes sense. The Red and the Assiniboine Rivers meet in the centre of the city, and in winter, when plowed of snow, skating trails many miles long are created. But with temperatures that drop to minus 30 and 40 for long periods of time, and winds that can make minus 30 feel like minus 50, creating opportunities to find shelter from the wind greatly enhances the ability to use the river skating trails. Therefore, a program has developed to sponsor the design and construction of te... More

Project • By A-labCultural Centres

Arctic Culture Centre

At the top of Norway, Hammerfest presents itself as the world’s northernmost town and a natural centre of the region. In addition to the proximity to the North Cape, this establishes it as one of the most important tourist destinations in Northern Norway, with over 250.000 visitors each year. The project is a part of the bigger seafront development and is highly visible from both land and sea. The goal is to provide new program and architectural characteristics to the site, ensuring an attractive and beautiful town centre, contributing to the development and strengthening of the town’s identity. The program is organized in compact units in such a way that in-between spaces with different degrees of public access are created, and the numbers... More

Project • By Nordic Copper from Aurubis FinlandResearch Facilities

Svalbard Science Center

The project was commissioned through an invited competition. The new structure is an addition to an existing university and research building, which is extended to about 4 times its original size.The project also provides new facilities for the Svalbard Museum. The project is the very largest building in Longyearbyen and Spitzbergen. The insulated copper-clad skin is wrapped around the program demanded, creating an outer shell adjusted to the flows of wind and snow passing through the site. Climatic 3D simulations has been undertaken to assure that the accumulation of snow would not create undesired conditions in front of doors and windows. In the process, the skin has been flexible to adjustments, both geometrical changes answering to the... More

Project • By Takeshi Hosaka Architects


This is a building like inside and outside. The project was planned on the site with Mt. Fuji rising closely in the south and the two sides facing the trunk roads. This building seems to belong to such nature objects as mountains and clouds. It is made from soft geometry, which will not arise from the figures like quadrangles and circles. By continuously operating innumerable polygon mesh points, we have determined the shape that clears the conditions such as the consistency as shell construction and the undulations that ward off rainwater in spite of its free geometry. The RC shell with cubic surfaces creates such spaces as 530 square meters of seats, 140 square meters of kitchens, and 50 square meters of rest rooms, in such a manner... More

Project • By Philippe SAMYN and PARTNERS, architects & engineersResearch Facilities

International Polar Foundation

The International Polar Foundation (IPF), led by the civil engineer and explorer Alain HUBERT, was commissioned in 2004 by the Belgian Federal government to design, construct and operate a new Belgian Antarctic research station. Princess Elisabeth, the world’s first “zero emission” polar station, stands now at 72°S 23°E on top of a granite ridge, north of the Utsteinen Nunatak in the Sør Rondane Mountains. Several factors influenced the final form of the station developed by the Foundation design team led by Johan Berte and Nighat Amin, in particular: 1) The environmental conditions: extreme wind speeds, stable wind direction, very dry atmosphere, sub-zero temperatures, snow erosion and accumulation, and the potential "blasting"... More

Project • By moloParks/Gardens

northern sky circle

molo collaborated with sound artist Ethan Rose to build an ephemeral outdoor room from snow; a place for contemplation, gathering and a heightened sensory experience of the northern sky.With temperature’s plummeting to -30 Celsius, construction began in the pitch dark of New Year’s morning. The main challenge was improvising a construction method to work with the variable consistencies of snow, mixed with gravel and sand and ploughed from parking lots. The snow was piled loosely into formwork where it sintered into a solid mass. Playing with the formwork, using our bodies to back off or lean in, we were able to create a geology of formations and textures.Entering the structure’s narrow opening, one felt the weight of its massive walls. The... More

Project • By Matteo Thun & PartnersApartments

Residences Edel Weiss

Like monoliths rising up in the mountain scape. Vertical landmarks cladded with larch wood, connected with a biomass generator. More

Project • By Rhiza A + DPavilions

Timberline Lodge Winter Entrance

The design was selected in an anonymous competition in 2004 and completed October of 2009. The entrance is demountable and temporary by nature, assembled at the onset of each year’s snow season and disassembled the following spring. The entrance is conceived as a snowdrift blown against the lodges' massive masonry façade, appearing and disappearing with each season’s snow. Under light powder the illuminated portal softly glows like a lantern. Once the snow starts piling up, the lantern morphs into a snug contemporary igloo, able to withstand the formidable snow and wind loads encountered on Mount Hood. The entrance is formed from a series of interlocking parabolic arches. Each arch module is 30 inches wide and as large as 20 feet across b... More

Project • By Daigo Ishii + Future-scape ArchitectsHousing

House in Nagaoka

It locates in the downtown of the city with 300,000 people where it snows heavily with 3 m deep at maximum. The family is composed of grandparents, parents and 2 children. A part of the house was planned considering aged grandparent, therefore, the majority of the function was disposed on the ground level, and the large loft space like attic with many openings was put on the first floor. The loft has functions that connect the house in various levels. The first is a place where the things as a family’s memory are put. The second is a space for supplying the natural light via openings to the ground level in the winter when the first floor is buried under the heavy snow. The third is a apparatus that the sign of each room is... More

Project • By Hollmen-Reuter-Sandman ArchitectsSculptures

The Snow Show

The Snow Show explored issues related to Art and Architectural investigation by creating works from the ephemeral materials of snow and ice. An artist was partnered with an architect and invited to develop a work together - this dialogue created a bridge between the worlds of art and architecture. The idea was conceived in 2000 by the independent curator Lance Fung. Hollmén-Reuter-Sandman Architects were invited to participate and were partnered with the visual artist Robert Barry. Lanterns of Ursa Minor Five meditative spaces, each accommodating one person, each exuding the distinctive scent and taste, acoustics and intimacy of ice and snow. The miniature scale of the world of ice was brought close for discovery. The five ice lanterns w... More