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Competition: Palace Hotel, Brussels

Swedish hotel developer Pandox has launched a contest for a €22 million hotel expansion in Brussels, Belgium (Deadline: 8 January)

The competition seeks ‘subtle and modest’ proposals to upgrade and extend the historic 1908 Palace Hotel, now known as the Crowne Plaza Le Palace, which occupies a prominent site within the city’s Charles Rogier Square transport hub.

The 6,280m² project, planned to complete in 2021, will deliver an additional 150 hotel rooms along with a 600m² convention centre, an 800m² retail complex, and a rooftop bar with panoramic viewing terrace.

The Palace Hotel in Charles Rogier Square, Brussels

The Palace Hotel in Charles Rogier Square, Brussels

The Palace Hotel in Charles Rogier Square, Brussels

According to the brief: ‘The client hopes to achieve a consistent, integral design approach, both in terms of urban development and architecture, whereby an attractive and high-quality project can take shape, with clear added value for the neighbourhood. Special attention to the volumes, the light and the atmosphere created within these spaces is expected.

‘The client will also be aware of the relevance of the architectural proposals associated with the site, combining the quality of the spaces and their functionality. This will give the whole project a strong architectural character. The project must have a strong guiding principle, a central idea giving the whole project an identity and ensuring its cohesiveness. It will also need to foster the feeling of belonging to the area and having a collective identity, nurturing the qualities associating the project with its environment.’

The eight-storey Palace Hotel was designed by Adhémar Lener and Antoine Pompe in 1908 and today features 354 rooms along with a bar, events space, restaurant and fitness centre. The four-star hotel occupies a prominent corner of Charles Rogier Square which is one of the city’s busiest transport hubs.

The Palace Hotel in Charles Rogier Square, Brussels

The Palace Hotel in Charles Rogier Square, Brussels

The Palace Hotel in Charles Rogier Square, Brussels

The extension will be constructed on a small undeveloped site fronting both the square and Avenue du Boulevard, which was previously occupied by a slip road. Nearby landmarks include the city’s botanical gardens and the 30-storey Manhattan Centre skyscraper.

The completed building will feature 150 rooms, a large convention space capable of being divided into two separate venues, a retail unit and a rooftop bar.

Based in Stockholm, Pandox operates around 122 hotels across 11 northern European countries. 

Five shortlisted teams will be invited to visit the site in January after which the finalists will be expected to draw up conceptual plans and sketches for the project. Details of methodological approaches will also be required.

Second-round bidders will receive around €15,000 each to participate in the design phase and present their proposals to the contest’s advisory committee. Concepts will be judged on their urban quality, inhabitability, technical characteristics and feasibility. Submissions must be in English.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 2pm local time, 8 January

Contact details

Aldert Schaaphok
Director international operations
Pandox AB
Vasagatan 11 - 9th floor
P O Box 15 - SE-101 20 Stockholm
Sweden

Email: aldert.schaaphok@pandox.com

Register with Exporting is Great for more information and advice

Z Hotel Glasgow case study: Q&A with Purcell

The UK practice discusses lessons learned restoring and expanding a historic building to create a new hotel in Glasgow, Scotland

How did your project deliver an appropriate expansion to a historic landmark building within Glasgow?

Architects Purcell, applied conservation and heritage expertise to the conversion and extension of an 1882, dilapidated and fire damaged, B-listed former print works into a 104-bedroom hotel in the centre of Glasgow. A distinctive zinc-clad extension was added to the rear pitch of the principal elevation’s roof, hidden below the ridgeline to minimise the visual impact on the classical sandstone elevation.

By contrast, more conspicuous change is evident internally, with glazing to the rear wall of the extension, providing extensive views across the city’s roofscape, and the retention and re-use of the original glazed brick atrium and steel frame that provides an authentic industrial aesthetic.

New bedrooms are arranged around the perimeter of the glass atrium across 6 floors. At its base, the hotel’s coffee shop and reception are easily accessible from the street.

Z Hotel Glasgow by Purcell

Z Hotel Glasgow by Purcell

Source: Image by Chris Humphreys

Z Hotel Glasgow by Purcell

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

Purcell was responsible for the detailed design of a new glazed cupola that brings light into the heart of the building and a fully glazed panoramic lift that provides unexpected drama and a ‘sense of arrival’.

Previous refurbishments of the building had removed layers of history and original features but Purcell’s - conservation architects took particular care in conserving and incorporating original architectural features in the new design; for example the original stone cantilever stair and glazed brick atrium were repaired and brought back into public use.

Z Hotel Glasgow by Purcell

Z Hotel Glasgow by Purcell

Source: Image by Chris Humphreys

Z Hotel Glasgow by Purcell

Efficient use of space was forefront in the design, through the use of glass partitions to en-suite bathrooms, which maximise access to daylight and retain the overall room proportions.

The coffee shop interior is inspired by the existing gas lamps used on the premises, and is complemented by exposed brick walls and furniture which harks back to the bygone era of 20th Century travel.

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing an extension to the Palace Hotel in Brussels?

Stay true to the original hotel building and draw on its original spirit. When it opened its doors in 1910, the Palace Hotel was forward-looking; every bedroom had central heating, ventilated en-suite bathroom and telephone. Identify the building’s historical significance and allow this to unlock an opportunity to create a contemporary intervention which retains and enhances its significance and provides an innovative yet fitting expansion.

Z Hotel Glasgow by Purcell

Z Hotel Glasgow by Purcell

Source: Image by Chris Humphreys

Z Hotel Glasgow by Purcell

 

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