Timber building prospers even in Arctic climate

CLT geological research center in Spitsbergen. Image: Veldekke Arctic AS

The World’s northernmost timber building, a geological research station in Ny-Alesund, Spitsbergen, was put into operation this year. The Arctic observatory consists of four CLT (cross-laminated timber) buildings, which are connected via wooden walkways. The foundations are the only part of the building that was made of concrete.

According to information from the Austrian wood industry federation (Holzindustrie Österreich), timber was considered the best material to meet the specific challenges of building in the Artic winter: The observatory was built in constant darkness. Using pre-fabricated wood elements was the easiest solution, as it guaranteed safe and fast completion of the building. Moreover, using pre-fabricated CLT panels also minimised the amount of construction waste at the site.

Construction of the observatory required 300 m3 of cross-laminated timber and 50 m3 of glue-laminated timber. “This project has proven that timber building is possible in all seasons and under all climatic conditions”, said Helmuth Neuner of Holzindustrie Österreich.

CLT – the perfect material for environmental projects

CLT can be used for constructing both internal and external walls as well as roofs and ceilings. CLT panels are delivered to the building site cut-to-size and offer boundless possibilities regarding building concept, style and architecture. The material is absolutely compatible with other building materials. “CLT is a sustainable building material and it’s positive CO2 balance and durability makes it the perfect material to be used in environmental projects”, said Herbert Jöbstl, spokesmen of the Austrian sawmilling industry.

The project was planned and realised by Veidekke, LPO arkitekter and Woodcon, with Stora Enso supplying the CLT. The observatory is part of a global network for researching and observing climatic changes such as sea level, earthquakes and glacial melting in the Arctic.

For more information (in German) go to Holzindustrie Österreich.