Hotel Seeburg

Hotel Seeburg in Lucerne, Switzerland by Scheitlin_Syfrig + Partner

The long history of Hotel Seeburg in Lucerne, Switzerland is immediately apparent: a three-story, 19th-century building and a six-story, 20th-century building sit astride the recent structure by Scheitlin_Syfrig + Partner. The Jesuit courtyard and gardens date back to the 18th century, when the estate was used as a summer retreat. In addition to the hotel's function, Lake Lucerne and the Alps unite these historical pieces, as each addresses this landscape in some way.

The 2003 addition contains the hotel lobby and front desk as well as a restaurant, lounge, and meeting room. The restaurant juts towards the water's edge with a large window overlooking the lake and the mountain scenery beyond, recalling many luxury hotels that take advantage of their natural surroundings. The meeting room accomplishes the same via its generous glazing.

Both the restaurant and meeting room take on a double meaning when seen in relation to the hotel context: the real view out the window recalls a painted view in the Panoramasaal in the old building. Additionally, at night each becomes inverted as the become views from the outside, giving those strolling along the lake a glimpse of the dining and business taking place inside.

The addition's simple geometries, contemporary materials, and dark colors place it in opposition to not only the 19th-century building but the more-recent building with its suites overlooking the lake. This opposition is merely aesthetic, though, as the interior effectively links the two buildings and its low massing plays down this opposition. Ultimately it extends the focus of the previous buildings to the utmost as it brings the distant mountain views inside via the expansive glass.