When an ensemble consisting of buildings dating from various eras is extended to another house, you may ask yourself: Will this turn out to be a mixture of styles. Or will the extension succeed to do justice to the historic context – without having to hide behind it.
Completed in 1908 with a solid granite façade, the building with U-shaped extensions now uses the inner courtyard for the gently curved extension. When viewed from the street, only a few subtle details indicate that something has changed.
Play of light and embroidery
The remarkable transformation only comes in to view in the rear area of the courtyard. Large ‘light ponds’ have been embedded in the paving of the entire site and provide natural light for the foyer in front of the conference rooms on the underground level. The façade of the extension is made of Wienerberger custom-made ivory clay bricks resembling over-sized embroidery with its pattern shielding windows and even balconies, a rather exceptional feature for an inner-city hotel. The openwork enclosure acts like a filter in front of the solid exterior wall; it projects a varied play of light into the rooms. At night, it shines like a lantern. Loggia-like openings interrupt the ‘laced’ brick façade. The ivory perforated brick with distinctive holes was specifically developed for this purpose. The oval holes on both ends allow tolerances for the steel supports used to connect the bricks and strengthen the wall. Most houses in the surroundings are built of brick. ‘We could feel it’, the architects say, ‘this brick was exactly the right durable material for the new wing. We have chosen the colour and texture to merge the brick with the neighbouring buildings.’
Project namePaasitorni Hotel and Conference Centre, Helsinki, Finland
Terca Tuohi Retro, modified special brick