Brattøra conference hotel: reinventing atrium hotel design

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Clarion hotel and the adjacent public park (Space Group)

Construction is underway on Scandinavia’s largest conference hotel at Brattøra in Trondheim, Norway. Due for completion this year (2012), the project was designed by Oslo-based architects Space Group and is being built by Skanska. Consulting engineers are Arup & Partners in London.

The lobby has a fjord view (Space Group)

The project encompasses the 35,000m2 Clarion hotel, which will have 400 rooms and a conference/culture hall to accommodate 2000 people, as well as a public park and an aquarium.

The white glass facade with a pixellated silk-screen print surrounds the hotel’s most striking feature: a star-shaped, golden atrium. Unlike conventional atrium designs – where a grand, central, vertical space is exposed under a glazed roof – the Brattøra lobby has a much more complex structure. It combines a series of views and angles, from panoramic fjord scenery to more intimate glimpses of the surrounding area. This puts the hotel into context with Trondheim’s cityscape, where a large grid of straight streets is intersected by narrow, mediaeval closes.

Throughout the project, its designers have emphasised sustainability and an affinity with the site’s architectural typology. Public consultation and interaction with local politicians led to some elevation design changes during the early stages of the development.

The golden, star-shaped atrium (Space Group)

Some hotel chains, like Apex, now employ in-house architects specifically responsible for sustainable design.

One way to make hotel design greener is to avoid new-build altogether: Conran & Partners won the 2009 Hotel of the Year award for their conversion of a Victorian warehouse into Boundary, a new hotel in Shoreditch, East London.

The International Business Leaders Forum has a number of publications with guidelines for the sustainable siting, design, construction and management of hotels.

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