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Hjalmar Johansens gate 14, Tromsø
The Polar Environment Centre and Polaria are located to the south of the Tromsø town centre, along the edge of the sea. The site complex is situated in such a way that the buildings are easily visible from both the mainland and for those at sea. Research in diverse fields of study is performed at the Polar Environment Centre, as well as environmental protection and consultancy in regard to the circumpolar region. Polaria is an adventure and informational centre that gathers and provides education about the circumpolar region.

The complex is comprised of two buildings that have different forms, this reflects contrasting functions. The Polar Environment Centre is a long upright structure that is situated transversely to the water's edge. It is a seven-storied building and has a taut upright quality. Curved in form the roof has a slight angle, which catches the wind from the south. In contrast, Polaria has a vastly sculptural quality. This characteristic arrangement of forms was derived from an impression of the Arctic landscape. Five sheets of "ice flow" are packing together towards land. This impression is further emphasised by the use of glass between the sheets of ice, something which also creates spaciousness. The entrance is clad with Siberian larch wood.

Year of construction



JAF Arkitektkontor AS

Building Type

Informational and adventure centre
research centre

Construction System / Materials

Cast-in-place concrete
steel construction

Prizes / Recognition

Fabci Norways property prize 2003, in the unique buildings category


information centre
activity centre
research building
cast-in-place concrete
Siberian larch


Arkitektur i Norge Årbok 1999, Oslo 1999 p. 51

Byggekunst 3/1999, pp. 26-31
Ferdigmelding nr. 563/1998.
Krane, Lars: "Et kritisk blikk på Polarmiljøsenteret og Polaria", Byggekunst 3/1999, p. 32
Risåsen, Geir Thomas: Staten bygger, Oslo 2003 pp. 110-113


Polarmiljøsenteret og Polaria
Polarmiljøsenteret og Polaria
Polarmiljøsenteret og Polaria
Polarmiljøsenteret og Polaria
Polarmiljøsenteret og Polaria
Polarmiljøsenteret og Polaria
Polarmiljøsenteret og Polaria