av Praewa Samachai
Eva Kun
Nancy Couling
Svalbard, Norway

Longyearbyen, Svalbard is a small town on Spitsbergen Island, Norway. It is one of the places on earth where the effects of climate change are more extreme and are already showing.What does it mean to inhabit such a changing condition? Inhabitants have to adapt their habits because of the climate change situation. What will be the new model for inhabitants a strategy? of integrated safety and technology to decrease the rate of climate change?


The uniqueness of buildings in Longyearbyen have been built to serve different functions in different period. Now it’s time to introduce new characteristics that can serve a new purpose in responding to the climate change era.

The sustainable future of the Svalbard housing aims at both building processes and improving part of existing city planning. The new planning proposal will introduce a new building typology to the town. Where existing houses under landslide threat are relocated to safe sites and reassembled in a new collective arrangement, which responds more specifically to climate, site and views as well as creating social space for different seasons. This typology will encourage residents to shift their habits to become more sustainable as a collective act. Moreover, the project seeks a specific architectural expression for Svalbard, which responds to a new social and environmental consciousness; existing housing units are relocated, reused and reshaped into mixed multi-units while gaining additional area and greater stability, thermal comfort and options for mediating spaces to the outdoors. Adjustment of the protective roof and exterior wall elements shelter the inhabitants and open up new spaces of interaction with each other and with their environment.