Urban Agency

Premier Inn


Located adjacent to Dortmund’s main train station, Premier Inn’s new hotel and high-rise office tower is situated in a visually exposed and impactful urban situation. With city landmarks such as the state library, Hardenberge high-rise and Dortmunder U in close proximity, the design challenge became a study in balancing integration and establishing a new urban icon.

The architectural mass itself is composed of three volumes; a two-story double height base which runs along the street, and the hotel and office building which rise 25 meters and 60 meters high respectively.

Entrances to both buildings are through the base roadside volume which also contains the hotel’s lobby, lounge and restaurant – establishing a new and energetic interior public realm with strong visual connections to the urban context. The hotel’s compact volume is pulled apart from the iconic office tower allowing for through views and clear legibility of the project’s three distinct programmatic functions.

Above the base volume, where there are no buildings, there is green. The east-facing roof area offers a large roof terrace for hotel visitors, receiving ample amounts of sunlight and optimal conditions for diverse plantings. Furthermore, behind the walls of the hotel one can find a densely planted circular inner courtyard, which offers light and inward green views to the hotel rooms on the east and west facades. In addition to the green roofscapes, vertically growing plants have been added to the south facade of the tall office tower, offering natural shading and views of pleasant seasonal life. As a whole, the use of green roofs and facades reduce the urban heat island effect of the entire surrounding site as well as provide local collection of rainwater for reuse in the building’s grey water systems. The integration of plants within the Premier Inn’s design brings to life a sustainable architectural vision while additionally bringing lively elements to a largely hard-surfaced urban setting, offering visual well-being to the surrounding Dortmund context.

The concept of dynamism of the Premier Inn is not restricted to just the landscaping elements but also extends to the character and materiality of the facade. The three building volumes share a grid pattern, where each volume is realized with a different rhythm. The base volume has a square grid with generous glass surfaces that allow the inside and outside public spheres to interact. Above, the hotel is made up of narrower window openings (two per hotel room), and the high-rise office offers the widest openings and most extensive views out to the city. The panelling of all facades is done in recycled copper which offers durability and a ‘living’ quality to the new construction – a solution that is as aesthetically special as it is sustainable.

Collectively the three volumes establish a lively urban dialogue with each other while retaining their explicit independence. They ensure the Premier Inn an important foothold in the iconic urban context as a robust ensemble and appealing landmark in the heart of Dortmund city centre.

Program: Hotel + Office complex

Size: 11,000m2

Location: Dortmund, Germany

Client: Premier Inn Dortmund Köningswall GmbH

Type: Invited Competition

Status: Settled

Team: Henning Stüben, Heechan Park, Charlotte Klein, Gaspar Cánepa, Luis Manovel Mariño

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