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Building like a snowflake. Rovaniemi Snow Museum Project.

11 of April '22

A {tag:studenci} from the Faculty of Architecture at the Cracow University of Technology designed the Snow Museum building in Rovaniemi. Inspired by the structure of a snowflake, she created a building with its tops stretched out like a snowflake. Inside it, regardless of the season, visitors can enjoy real snow, visit a cultural zone, obtain information on climate change and admire the aurora borealis.

Muzeum Śniegu w Finlandii

The project is characterized by a white façade and drawn-out tops

© Aleksandra Bator

The basis for the engineering work done under the supervision of Dr. Wojciech Wicher was the student competition "The Unbelievable Challenge 2021" for the design of a snow museum in Rovaniemi . It inspired Aleksandra Bator to design the Snow Museum and create functional solutions - the scope of the thesis was extended to develop the development of the entire waterfront and add the function of a cultural center.

 Projekt Muzeum Śniegu w Rovaniemi, schemat projektowy

The concept of the building refers by its shape to a snowflake

© Aleksandra Bator

bydynek like a snowflake

The author has proposed a museum building that could be built in Rovaniemi, Finland.

The concept of the building comes from the idea of a snow flake falling on a snow ground. It then becomes part of a compact structure, joining its crystals with the others. The building, covered with a green roof, allows the greenery to continue in the development, blending in with the terrain, preserving the most valuable asset of the site, which is precisely the vegetation. When viewed from above, the museum appears as a snowflake with outstretched tops. From the water side, it opens with the planes of the facade towards the city, resembling an ice palace," the author explained.

Projekt Muzeum Śniegu w Rovaniemi znajduje się nad rzeką

The museum would be built in Rovaniemi

© Aleksandra Bator

The museum is also to act as a beacon, illuminating the surroundings and creating a recognizable mark in the space. The light of the building, thanks to a special system of milky façade profiles, illuminates both the interior and exterior. The aforementioned vertices, in addition to the horizontal plane of curvature, also use vertical directions, rising towards the sky. The large terrain difference of four meters allowed the author to lower the foundation level of the building and design one floor below the road level.

Projekt Muzeum Śniegu w Rovaniemi, PZT

The author left all the greenery located in the study area

© Aleksandra Bator

respect for greenery

The key design condition was to leave the greenery located in the study area. The building hides under the plane of the green island, which provides access to the roof. The architect retained the current functions - the beach and campground - while adding meandering park paths. One of them continues the existing hiking trail along the river. In front of the building, the student proposed a wooden platform, serving as a stage, an audience and a place from where one can watch the aurora borealis projected on the museum's façade. The green structure was supplemented with additional reforestation, and the whole establishment also creates a new public square/amphitheater, created by taking advantage of a four-meter difference in terrain.

Drewniany podest w muzeum

the establishment creates a new public square

© Aleksandra Bator

Cultural Center and Snow Museum

The functional program was based on two essential functions of the building - the Snow Museum and the Cultural Center. The shape of the building, resembling a snowflake, strongly influenced the way the interior was designed. A large staircase, which is part of the amphitheater, leads to the main entrance located on the east side, located 3.5 meters below the road level. This part includes a cultural zone divided into a foyer, meeting rooms, public restrooms, administrative space and a café with a reading room. An external communication located at street level has also been designed to facilitate access to the facility for people with disabilities.

Projekt Muzeum Śniegu w Rovaniemi, rzut parteru

Snow Museum, first floor plan

© Aleksandra Bator

Another separate and most important part of the project is the exhibition area, presenting the atmospheric phenomenon of snow.

The analysis of snow begins in the southern part of the museum, where we have the opportunity to put on a jacket in a special checkroom in order to start the adventure through the snow exhibition in turn. It is enclosed in a thermal glazing structure that winds along the cultural zone, surrounding it and creating the possibility of looping the way of visiting. The exhibition's themes are divided into chapters: snow, snow recreation, snow art. The whole is enriched by snow falling through the openwork ceiling and the design of the aurora borealis projected on the museum's facade in the evenings. Thanks to the maintenance of a constant minus temperature, the exhibition is to be open all year round regardless of the weather, which may have a positive impact on the popularity and consistent number of visitors, even in the summer season, says Aleksandra Bator.

Wystawa dotycząca śniegu

Thanks to thermal glazing, snow is inside the museum all year round

© Aleksandra Bator

snow all year round

The building consists of two floors, and the exhibition area opens to the height of both of them. The cold exposition has been enclosed behind thermal glass and creates a separate microclimate. Snow-making installations routed in the upper zone of the truss structure above the exposition are used to produce fresh snow. In addition, air buffers and thermal sluices were created to insulate the zone from other temperatures. The architect planned to thaw the exposition twice a year - she designed drainage, retention tanks and thermal storage. Water extracted from the large roof will be stored and used to water the park's vegetation.

Projekt Muzeum Śniegu w Rovaniemi, przekrój B-B

A characteristic element is the raised roof

© Aleksandra Bator

The exhibition zone has a dilated structural system. Steel trusses and purlins are designed, based on reinforced concrete columns, allowing for adequate support of the freely rising roof. The remaining zones are designed in reinforced concrete technology, which, in view of the building's placement in the ground, seemed the most appropriate solution, the architect adds.

Muzeum Śniegu, mleczna elewacja

The facade was made of paraglass panels

© Aleksandra Bator

milky facade

The structure of the facade emerging towards the nearby river was made with a system of opaque white paraglass panels . The panels block the direct penetration of the sun into the interiors, while allowing the light of the building to come out, brightening foggy days. Part of the facade at one of the museum's apexes was made of transparent glass, encouraging visitors to the exhibition. The amphitheater area, as well as the interior, was finished with Finnish spruce wood.

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