Monday, January 25, 2010

Terminus Hotel

Terminus Hotel in Bergen, Norway by ON OFFICE

The Hotel Grand Terminus in Bergen, Norway takes its name from being across the street from the city's main train station. It occupies a building from 1928, an award-winning design by architects Fredrik Arnesen and Arthur Darre Kårbø but not one covered by cultural heritage restrictions. Designing the hotel's expansion is Porto, Portugal-based ON OFFICE, whose design makes a marked contrast with its predecessor, but it nevertheless responds carefully to its context.

The adjacent conditions for the expansion are a binary of sorts: buildings of a similar height to the existing hotel (seven stories) to the south and east; low buildings and open green space to the north and west. ON OFFICE attempts to relate to these two conditions, while at the same time maximizing southern exposure for the primarily north-facing building. As this animation illustrates they aligned the addition with the existing roof line, but instead of keeping a constant high wall along Kong Oscars Gate they articulated the mass to bring the building down in scale.

The new building will provide 55 new hotel rooms and be connected to the existing on its upper floors. The mountain-like design manages to bring in a lot of daylight to the numerous attic-like spaces, sure to be much-requested rooms for those staying at the hotel. The individual rooms shine through the wood facade at night, further demarcating the difference between old and new. Behind the fairly regular wrapper of the addition is a random staggering of windows.

Besides the faceted volume of the expansion, perhaps its most distinctive characteristic is the wood facade. Treated like a surface wrapping the elevations and roof (if a distinction between the two can be made), the tightly space horizontal slats are relieved by vertical lines that split and angle apart near the base. One of the gaps created at the ground floor allows entry to the new building. In their scientific yet sculptural design, ON OFFICE have crafted a design sure to provoke and put Bergen on the contemporary architecture map.