One of the striking features of Longyearbyen is the colourful buildings. Style and design-wise the architecture appears fairly random whilst the choice of colours does not. They are used to visually link old and new buildings, and the rich, bright palette contrasts with the muted colours of the barren landscape. With the lack of trees and shrubs there is no visual buffer between the town and the "naked" mountainsides. The use of colour visually strengthens the sense of connection between buildings and enhances the sense of place for residents and visitors.

The houses are utilitarian with simple, but solid detailing to cope with the tough climate. Window surrounds and external mouldings are typically painted in the very close or the same shade as the main walls, and thereby create a close to monochrome impression and sense of connection in the overall brightly coloured neighborhood. "The Longyearbyen Palette", as it is often referred to, has become an important part of the town's identity.

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Bebyggelsen i Longyearbyen - fargesetting