Clarion Hotel in Trondheim is one of Scandinavia's largest convention hotels and the biggest in Norway. Its architects, Space Group, adopted a strategy of orientating distinct, slab-like private room wings to capture the perfect views for visitors over sea, landscape and city. This torsional act twists open the central atrium to generate a thoroughly three-dimensional space with a complex, faceted roof form – a deconstructed golden star - cascading down. The building is a dramatic sight from any angle, but particularly from above where most visitors first view it, when arriving by air.
The design exhibits a rigorous application of materiality between the different elements. The massive, textured dark box of the main conference hall contrasts starkly with fully glazed bedroom blocks, silk-screen printed white but dematerialising to form windows with a soft, cloud-like effect. Breaking through between each block and linking them together is the shattering gold star, formed from an alloy of copper with aluminium and zinc.
Project architect Jens Niehues commented: "In the copper alloy we found a material which enabled us to design with a vibrant surface which reflects the inherent function of the 'Star' and gives it a rich, golden through-colour. Besides realising our conceptual intentions, of course the material also had to meet the technical challenges of the demanding climate of the west coast of Norway.
"The copper alloy does not develop a blue or green patina over time, even in this harsh climate, but keeps its golden colour. The characteristics of the material allow vertical, horizontal or inclined joints which underline the triangular shape of the 'Star'. Furthermore the material can be worked to a crisp edge reveal and the gutter details are clean. The choice of golden copper alloy definitely paid off in the final building."
The drama builds
Internally, the drama builds as the externally expressed hotel plan form dissolves to give open public spaces. At the heart of this, the vertical central space is conceived as a transformation of the hotel atrium typology from the one-dimensional into a dynamic, three-dimensional space. Here, the mood and scale shift between intimate and spectacular, as do views between panoramas outside and internal crystalline shapes referencing dramatic ice formations, cliffs and ice floes. And above it all are the long strips of the golden copper alloy star.
Title: Clarion Hotel Trondheim /Location: Trondheim, Norway /Site: Former industrial waterfront /Area: 35.000m2 /Program: 400 hotel rooms and conference for 2.000 people, restaurant, sky bar and meeting facilities /Client: Star Invest AS, Choice /Status: First prize, Competition 2006-2007, to be completed April 2012 /Design: Space Group /Competition team: Gary Bates, Gro Bonesmo, Adam Kurdahl, Wenche Andreassen, Fredrik Krogeide, Naofumi Namba, Tim Prins, Minna Riska, Lotte Sponberg, Gerald Bliem, Grant Cooper and Nathan Smith /Project development team: Anne Wodstrup, Fredrik Krogeide, Gesine Gummi, Claudia Laarman, Thomas Bang Jespersen, Jens Niehues /Engineering: Arup & Partners London /Fire: Reinertsen Engineering /Photography: Ivan Brodey /Visualization: MIR AS, Luxigon /Landscape: Space Group, PLAN arkitekter AS /Model: Space Group /Structural engineer: Competition – Arup & Partners London, Under Construction - Dr. Ing. A. Aas-Jakobsen Trondheim AS
The building received the Norwegian Grade A energy rating.