Snøhetta designs new-build ‘ice hotel’ for Helsinki’s Hakaniemi waterfront

The property, known as Hilbert’s Hotel, will be comprised of public and private domains, with the public sphere serving as the property’s foundation

Design firm Snøhetta won a competition to design a new hotel on the Hakaniemi waterfront in Helsinki, Finland. The property will be known as Hilbert’s Hotel.

The design concept for the property will be comprised of public and private domains, with the public sphere serving as the property’s foundation. Guestrooms will be located above a stepped plaza to reveal the hotel’s public spaces, as well as thoroughfares across the site. Maintaining the plaza’s accessibility will also be key to the design, providing access to water and connectivity across the site and with the larger neighborhood.

The guestrooms will be enveloped in a white glass skin that will contrast with surrounding punched masonry façades. These panelized façades, which will be reminiscent of broken sea ice, will be expressed by small joints. This distribution of panels will also form a modular repeatable pattern.


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The exterior’s look will shift throughout the day via a transparent façade that will become apparent with guest occupancy while still maintaining a contiguous monochromatic surface pattern. Each room will have a number of windows within that pattern, one of which will be operable.

Other planned amenities will include restaurants, bars, outdoor seating and rooftop terraces.

The concept was unveiled following a competition organized by AB invest A/S, the city of Helsinki and the Finnish Association of Architects. The planned number of keys and projected opening date are not yet available.

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