The Wienerberger Brick Award 2014 awarded Hotel and Conferece Centre appears in the surprising look of a delicate lacy garment.
Paasitorni Hotel & Conference Centre, Helsinki, Finland
HWA Helsinki Workers Union, Jorma Bergholm
Tuohi Retro, modified special brick
Paasitorni Hotel, Helsinki, Finland
When an ensemble of structures from various eras is joined by yet another building, one might reasonably wonder which way things will go: will the result be a veritable cacophony of randomness, or might the addition even do an exemplary job of rounding out the now-historic without obscuring the other contributing elements?
Writing about the conversion and expansion of the former Helsinki Workers’ House to a hotel and conference centre, the Finnish magazine ark is reminded of Woody Allen’s character Leonard Zelig: the ensemble, it finds, has the same ability to change its identity without sacrificing its own character. On a more prosaic note, one can say that the original 1908 Karl Lindahl building with its solid granite façades and its subsequent extensions takes up a city block in a U shape, and that with its gently curved extension it has now sidestepped into the inner courtyard. From the street, there are just a few subtle details indicating that something has changed.
“We felt,” say the architects, “that that was just the right, long-lived material for the new wing. We chose colour and texture in such a way that the brick harmonises with the neighbouring buildings.”
Building in the public sphere often involves an architecture of appropriateness.