Reinterpreted and repurposed, the old administrative building at Helsinki Central Railway Station receives new life as a hotel. Our winning entry ‘Hermes’ takes advantage of the grand, high rooms originally designed by Eliel Saarinen to create distinctive hotel rooms while joining the building’s two long wings with a new extension. By placing commercial functions at street level, a lively public space can develop alongside the busy airport train platform on the north side of the block. The arched ground floor windows subtly reference the fenestration originally proposed for the main building while communicating the public nature of the functions within. A serene, enclosed courtyard on the other side of the extension provides a welcome contrast to the bustling outside.
Though the design of the new part draws from the formal language of the existing station building, it resists mimicry. The courtyard-facing facade curves outwards, minimising the extension’s impact on the existing building while providing more space for hotel functions. Exterior materials and the recessed top floor are in subtle dialogue with what is already there, also taking their height from the surrounding buildings. The extension is all in all an innovative contemporary reinterpretation of the existing, forming a symbiosis between old and new.
Type: Invited Competition, 1st Prize
Client: Exilion Management Oy and Scandic Hotels Oy
Team: Auvo Lindroos, Teemu Seppänen, Iikka Airas, Aleksi Niemeläinen, Veikka Entelä, Patrick Perämäki, Fanni Suvila, Tiina Teräs
Collaborators: Structural Engineering: Jukka Ala-Ojala, Topi Valtonen, Wise Group Finland Oy