Published: Friday, October 20, 2006
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The light-and-colour-filled central atrium viewed from one of the upper galleries, with a detail of the glass elevators and the half-vaulted ceiling.
The hotel is part of the new Ria 2000 masterplan for the City of Bilbao, Spain. Located several distant blocks from the Guggenheim Museum, it is the last property on the Victoria Maria Boulevard before approaching the river.
The property is a small site of 17,650sq.ft. The hotel was designed as a compact volume in harmony with the context that surrounds it. The plan of the City indicated construction upto the bordering limits of the property, with a height of 10 levels and one extra set back of 3 meters.
Inspired by the work of the artist Chillida and the solid roots, history and culture of the Spanish Basque Country, the building is treated like a sculpted block of solid stone, to which certain perforations have been tilled.
The building within its context - with the corner tower.
The perforations were studied from a "sculptural point of view on the exterior," the architects state. Depending on the different views, the lower levels open towards the park and the upper levels towards the mountains; once the height has surpassed the adjacent commercial building, the volume ends with a tower which converts itself into a lighthouse at the corner.
The facade is treated like a lattice window with 9 squares per room to induce a sense of intimacy and at the same time, to achieve a sense of a massive volume by articulating the exterior facade.
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