New student housing in Longyearbyen

Samskipnaden's student housing at Elvesletta in Longyearbyen. Photo: Samskipnaden.

Top image: The new student housing at Elvesletta in Longyearbyen. Photo: Samskipnaden. 

Sunday 24 October was the official opening of Elvesletta student housing in Longyearbyen, placing the UNIS students in the heart of Longyearbyen.

29 October 2021
Text: Eva Therese Jenssen

The Elvesletta student housing is built as a replacement for housing that was in the avalanche-prone area in Nybyen, 3 kilometres from UNIS. Now the students live in the middle of town and only have a 5-minute walk down to UNIS.

Already in June, the first students moved into the building, and they have put it to good use. In early October all UNIS students moved into the new housing facility.

Building adapted to the Arctic climate
Elvesletta student housing is special and future-oriented in several ways. The roof is covered by solar panels that will make the building self-sufficient in electricity. For large parts of the year, it will even produce a profit.

«The construction project is one of Samskipnaden’s largest ever, it has an energy solution that Longyearbyen is not yet ready to utilize, it is built in solid wood – which is completely new on Svalbard, and it stands out purely architecturally compared to the other buildings on Svalbard», says managing director of Samskipnaden Hans Petter Kvaal in a press release.

«Elvesletta student housing is a future-oriented building adapted to the Arctic climate with sustainability as a cornerstone. And is an important project that will leave a mark far beyond Samskipnaden’s work, and which I personally believe will help to set the standard for how to build safely, efficiently and sustainably for the needs of the future» says Samskipnaden’s chairman of the board Sebastian Henriksen.

UNIS director Jøran Moen is very happy that the students now are living in a safe place. «The last couple of years have been demanding for the students and for UNIS, with several evacuations due to avalanche danger. With new, modern student housing in the middle of Longyearbyen, the students are safe and can concentrate fully on their studies at UNIS», Moen says.

Kitchen in Elvesletta student housing
Large kitchen facilities for the students at Elvesletta. Photo: Samskipnaden.

Facts about Elvesletta student housing

  • The facility has 220 housing units and has a capacity of up to 300 students in total.
  • Elvesletta student housing is the first passive house in Svalbard.
  • The buildings have solar cells on the roof which make the buildings self-sufficient in electricity for large parts of the year.
  • The homes are adapted to Arctic student life with, among other things, snowmobile parking, separate weapons cabinets and drying rooms for clothes and equipment.
  • The construction project has cost NOK 400 million.


Room at student housing in Longyearbyen
One of the housing units at Elvesletta, Longyearbyen. Photo: Samskipnaden.
Student life