Snhetta-designed center may provide a rare look inside the worlds largest seed vault

Snøhetta has
unveiled preliminary designs for The Arc, a proposed visitor center
for Arctic preservation storage on the Norwegian archipelago of
Svalbard, a remote island north of the Arctic Circle. Commissioned
by Arctic Memory AS, the visitor center will provide a digital
glimpse inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault — the world’s
largest secure seed storage — as well as a look at the contents
of the Arctic World Archive, a vault for preserving the world’s
digital heritage. Powered by solar energy, The Arc will not only
educate visitors about the importance of resource preservation but
will also inspire a call to action on global warming.

rendering of tall, white, conical building

Located in Longyearbyen, The Arc — named in reference to its
location in the Arctic — will comprise two visually distinct
volumes: an entrance building and an exhibition building. Built of
and clad in charred wood and dark glass, the low-lying
entrance building will house a lobby, ticketing, wardrobe and a
cafe as well as facilities for the Arctic World Archive and
technical rooms. The building will also be elevated off the ground
to prevent heating of permafrost and snow accumulation, and it will
be topped with rooftop solar panels.

Related: Rising temperatures are putting the Global Seed Vault at

rendering of dark round room with digital exhibits on the walls

In contrast to the dark entrance building, the exhibition
building will be tall and conical with an all-white facade that
looks as though it were formed by the forces of erosion. The
building is connected to the entrance building via a glass access
bridge that provides views of the towering geological formations to
the south as well as a stunning landscape to the north.

rendering of dark hallway leading to a bright wood room with a tree in the center

The vertical vault of the exhibition building houses a powerful
digital archive with permanent and temporary exhibits and an
environment that mimics the experience of being inside one of the
real vaults. Visitors can experience the vaults’ contents via
wall projections managed with touchscreens, VR experiences and
other physical and digital exhibit elements. At the heart of the
vault is the ceremony room, a conditioned auditorium with a large
deciduous tree symbolizing the vegetation that once grew on
Svalbard millions
of years ago when the temperatures were 5 to 8 degrees Celsius

rendering of enclosed glass bridge in the Arctic

“At the current rate of carbon emissions, temperatures could
rise high enough for a forest to grow again on Svalbard within only
150-200 years,” the architects said. “The tree in the ceremony
room is both a symbol of the past and a call to action — a living
icon for global
and our responsibility to preserve the Arctic, and all
of nature, for future generations.”

+ Snøhetta

Images via Snøhetta and Plomp

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
Snhetta-designed center may provide a rare look inside the worlds largest seed vault