The assignment is for a small luxury hotel in London's Bloomsbury providing approximately 15 – max.20 bedrooms and a courtyard garden. The objective would be to design a home away from home offering discernible guests comfortable interiors where they are welcome to do as they please. Staying in this hotel would be like being a house guest in someone's private home. Sitting rooms, a
library, a kitchen to eat in, a garden room, a gym and sauna are the kinds of spaces on offer and open to use. Beautiful furniture and high quality finishes are expected throughout. The hotel has a high quality food offer with world class cuisine. It also offers the opportunity to arrange meetings and events for both business and pleasure. On these occasions up to 12 people may eat at a single table.
In a normal situation guests may choose where they eat in different areas of the hotel. The bedrooms may each be different in character. As you might expect in a large house, some rooms are spacious, others are more compact but they all have a Warm domestic feeling. Rooms-sizes vary from 20m2, 28m2 and 40m2 with a special suite of 55m2. 1-2 apartments for longer stay could be added to the program. The students are supposed to invent and elaborate content their programs, on the base of atmosphere studies at the beginning of the course, the research on hotel typologies and the final choice of the site. It is yet to be decided if your assignment should involve the alteration of an existing Georgian building or will require the infill of a new building into its historic and urban setting, or may be both. Therefore the extent of the urban aspects of the project is yet to be defined in each individual case during our study trip to London. The principal themes of the teaching will be on spatial comfort and plan/section making. We wish to explore how we can use design to give greater emotional meaning to our surroundings and give our daily reality more depth. In doing that, we’ll seek a fine balance between the rational and the emotional. The primary design tool of the studio will be working with models made at different scales, which will be photographed to represent the anticipated atmosphere of the spaces offered. We can envisage a beautiful catalogue of images at the end of the semester complete with commentaries relating to the seeking of comfort and references of inspirational spaces….
The assignment we are setting invites you to design a small hotel in Bloomsbury, Central London. This building type and programme interests us greatly because it requires the management of thresholds of privacy and publicness. A hotel needs to allow public events, meetings and entertainment to take place, while also acting as a home for its guests, albeit a temporary one. We are interested in the way the interior architecture can meet these needs. We invite you to speculate very carefully on what the atmosphere of the different rooms should be, how they should feel individually and as an ensemble.
It is important to note that the type of hotel we are asking you to design is a luxury one, providing a high level of comfort and quality. Bloomsbury already has many low and medium cost hotels, but none offer a very well designed, special place to stay.
First exercise: a study of atmosphere
The first exercise we would like you to undertake is intended to develop an understanding of how atmosphere exists in a place. We would like you to choose a space that you believe holds a strong atmosphere. This should be a room that you would be able to gain access to and photograph. Ideally it should be a space that supports residential use, rather than a very public or esoteric activity. The space should also not be too large. Having made your choice, you will need to study the space carefully and find a good position to photograph it, taking care with the light level and composition of the photograph. You will then be asked to make a model of the space at a scale of 1:10 based on a print of the photograph you have taken. The model should accurately recreate everything that can be seen in the print. Having done this, you then need to photograph the model. Care should be taken to recreate the lighting levels and atmosphere you observed in the room chosen and in the photograph you took. You will then take a photograph of the model and print it at the same size as the original print.
Second exercise: survey
A study trip to London is planned at the beginning of September. A separate programme for this trip will be issued nearer the time. Your time in London will include a number of visits to places that will provide useful references for your project work. It will also give you time to become familiar with the sites chosen for your projects and their immediate environs.
While you are in London, you will be asked to select a building or part of a building to survey. This could be an interior space or part of the exterior of a building. You will need to produce a drawing survey upon your return to school. The choice of subject needs to take into account the value of the building selected in the development of your project later in the semester.
An introduction to this exercise will be offered while you are in London.
Third exercise: urban strategy
On your return from London, you will be asked to make a 1:200 timber block model of your site and of the wider surrounding area. The model will be produced as a group exercise, which requires both accuracy and careful coordination. The model produced should then be used as a tool to help develop a concept for your project. Consideration should be given to the scale of the building and the relationship it establishes with neighbouring buildings. While priority should be given to an extensive exploration of different massing possibilities, you will be expected to produce drawings to assist your studies in the form of sketches, plans sections and elevations. Your work will be reviewed at the end of this stage.
A lecture will also be delivered at this stage in the semester to help you develop an understanding of the themes and issues we are inviting you to consider.
Fourth exercise: building
This exercise is intended to build upon the understanding you have begun to develop from the previous stage of work to refine your project further. Again, this exercise focuses on plastic qualities: you are asked to produce study models at a scale of 1:100. Working again in groups, you will produce models, which will allow you to insert your own building proposal on its site. The base model should contain an appropriate amount of detail and include enough of the neighbouring buildings to enable you to understand the immediate relationship your project has with the existing buildings around it.
As in the previous exercise, while priority should be given to the making of models that explore ideas about the form, volume, facade and internal organisation of the building, the process should be supported by drawings.
Fifth exercise: building organisation
At this stage in the development of your project we would like you to study the internal organisation of your building at a larger scale. Study models that investigate the internal spatial organisation of your project and the interconnection of different rooms should be produced at a scale of 1:50 and 1:20. The position of doors and windows should be very carefully considered. Your work will be reviewed at the end of this stage.
Sixth exercise: room studies
With the knowledge you should now have of your project, you will be asked to take one room and build a model at 1:10 that gives an accurate representation of the atmosphere you want it to hold. Choosing a room may also require you to indicate its relationship with neighbouring rooms, or the view out onto the city. You will be asked to make numerous models to explore the ideas for this single space. The final version will then be photographed as carefully as the one you selected for the first exercise.
This is the key item of work you will produce this semester, and for this reason it has been allocated the longest period of time. Having completed the model and photographed it, you will need to draw your building in plan section and elevation at 1:50 or 1:25. The last two weeks of the semester should be devoted to producing a 1:25 model of your building. The manner in which this is made and the choice of materials should be given careful consideration.
The final review will consider all the components of the work produced during the semester. You will be asked to prepare a PowerPoint presentation of your project.
It is important that you are able to describe the development of your work accurately and precisely and include models of your final project at 1:200, 1:100, 1:50, 1:25, an image of the room you have chosen, as well as drawings describing it.
Stephen Bates and Jonathan Sergison
Neven Mikac Fuchs
Enya Regine Aamo Aspen
Juliane Mari Myking Eide
Mille Mee Herstad
Stefan James Hurrell
Einar Elton Jacobsen
Kristine Glenna Dragset
Marta Miquel Lopez
Rannveig Hesselberg Meland
Adrian Rowe Nordgård
Yen Dieu Pham
Laufey Björg Sigurdardottir
Mira Aanes Wolden
Yeung Kwun Ting Tommy