Henning Larsen has won an invitational competition to design a new four-star hotel in the Faroese capital of Tórshavn with a concept that gives the hotel a more active role in city life.
Henning Larsen’s design stems from a commitment to improving city life. The hotel is in the heart of Tórshavn, standing between the city’s main cultural venues and just beneath the main pedestrian and shopping street. Its design taps into the Faroese landscape to pre- sent an iconic, locally-inspired heart of new activity in the city center. Hotel Tórshavn’s ex- pansion introduces a public grand foyer and a broad staircase connecting the streets, de- signed as a meeting point and pedestrian thoroughfare for local and international visitors. For Ósbjørn Jacobsen, Partner and Design Director at Henning Larsen’s Faroese studio, the design concept draws on Faroese roots to create a hotel that reflects its local connections.
“We’re going back to the original idea of a grand foyer as a way to create street-level identity, and as a passageway for new connections in the city,” Jacobsen said. “In our search for a symbol of an open, active venue for the foyer, we took inspiration from the sea caves along the Faroese coast, which are a striking feature of our geography. In a way, you could say our design represents the bedrock of the Faroe Islands, with the city life carving its way into the lower levels of the hotel.”
Part renovation and part expansion, the design refreshes the interior of the existing Hotel Tórshavn while adding a new wing on an adjacent lot, anticipated as around 100 rooms in total. Henning Larsen’s 4,500 m2 proposal upgrades the hotel from a three-star to four-star establishment, and positions the building as an accessible pedestrian thoroughfare be- tween two of the city center’s most active streets.
Hotel Tórshavn responds to the Faroe Islands’ recent emergence as a global tourist destination. Following the Faroese tourist board’s 2012 commitment to double the country’s number of overnight stays and annual tourism revenue by 2020, the islands’ air- and sea- ports have routinely broken standing records in tourist traffic. 2016 saw over 60,000 arri- vals by cruise ship, up from around 30,000 in 2010. In 2017, the Faroe Islands’ only air- port recorded a 25 percent rise in arrivals by the beginning of tourist season. Hotel Tórshavn delivers a boost to overnight capacity in the city center, further encouraging the country’s growing tourism industry.
As the Faroe Islands explore a developing role in global tourism, Henning Larsen’s concept for Hotel Tórshavn anticipates new visitors while benefitting longtime residents. The de- sign rises as a new landmark in an emerging hotspot, standing as an inviting icon for guests and an active commons for Tórshavn’s locals.