Research centre in the artic is proof that wood is suitable for any climate

The geological research station Ny-Ålesund is the world’s northern-most wooden building.

The world’s northern-most wooden building is found in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, a Norwegian island in between Norway and the North Pole.

Built in 2016, the geological research station Ny-Ålesund studies Earth’s movements and climate change. It consists four buildings, connected by walkways above ground. Apart from concrete foundations, cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels and glulam—a total of 300m3 and 50m3 respectively—were used to build the observatory.

Wood was selected as a building material since construction would take place during the polar winter—in perpetual darkness. Wooden buildings are quick to erect, achieving significant cost savings. The CLT elements were pre-fabricated first before delivering to the site.

“The success of this Arctic project shows that timber construction is possible in any season and any climate condition,” said Helmuth Neuner, chairman of the Construction Elements Industry Branch of the Association of the Austrian Wood Industries (FHO).

The observatory is built by Norwegian construction company Veidekke and designed by architects LPO Arkitekter.