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Serena Hotel, Islamabad, Pakistan

Wednesday 04 May 2011

Heritage for today

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Award Entry

Islamabad hotel responds to local heritage and crafts through contemporary design language 

The Serena Hotel represents the ideology of the client, The Agha Khan, who has been an exponent of local heritage and enrichment of the local crafts through new design challenges and opportunities.

The Serena hotel buildings in Asia and Africa have been able to reflect the sensibilities of their respective locations and have been sympathetic to historical and cultural aspects through their unique expressions.

The hotel in Islamabad posed a tall challenge since the capital city is a fairly young development. In order to extract a connection to historical and cultural content, the circle had to be enlarged to absorb the culture and expression of surrounding areas instead of the capital itself.

The Islamabad Serena emerges as a hotel covering the heritage of the sub-continent and the Islamic idioms of design. However, none of the features follow any particular period. The language is innovative and eventually contemporary, taking its cues from the spirit of regional architecture.

The hotel responds to the design brief in providing a layout that addresses security concerns while it enables the guests and visitors to enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and the roof garden above the banquet hall area.

Another important achievement is that of using local resources, materials and labour. The marble flooring, light fittings, chandeliers and artwork are the proud products of local artisans.

Various blocks and zones of the project operate independently such as the office block, banquet halls, restaurants and exhibition spaces. Despite this separation of various levels and terraces of the hotel, the architectural language manages to provide a sense of unity amongst all the spaces, and the architectural detailing provides a strong sense of harmony and character.

The capacity of the hotel is more than 500 rooms with two large banquet halls and five specialty restaurants. The approximate area of the hotel is 600,000 sq ft and the office building covers another 250,000 sq ft.

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