The Svalbard University Research Centre is on located in quite a harsh climate, somewhere on an island in the north of Norway. The artic weather conditions are rather demanding of a building, and with this project the architects respond in a rather specific way. For instance, the volume of the building hovers above the ground on pillars so as not to disturb the permafrost-sealed soil on which its foundations rest.
The polygonal shape is not only intriguing looking and fitting the landscape of its surroundings, but is actually streamlined according to wind loads and wind efficiency.
The programme of the building is also responding to the harsh climate: inside the fragmented volume is an inverted campus of various functions under one roof. Well, that makes sense, since the climate doesn't quite supply a nice atmosphere for cosy inside-outside relations. The interior is just as intriguing in form as the outside, with loads of spacial extremities and visual relations between the parts.
More images can be found on the website of Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects.