Today the modernistic warehouse from 1937 has gained new life as the building has been transformed into a boutique hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant: Eilert Smith Hotel and restaurant RE-NAA. The restoration of the building was done by architect Paal Trodahl at Trodahl Arkitekter. The hotel’s owners Signe Anne and Kristoffer Stensrud had a desire to preserve the building’s historic heritage, renew it and create a vibrant and warm hotel.
Transforming this piece of history into a boutique hotel required a new extension. Trodahl’s challenge was to add two extra floors and at the same time preserve the modernist expression, characterised by its general proportions, curved geometrical shapes, clock tower and the slim horizontal windows.
Inspired by similar Nordic modernistic buildings from the same era, the design solution was to elongate the existing clock tower, keeping the two new floors subordinate. The ground floor of the building was redesigned with the same footprint as the additional floors in order to strengthen the relationship between the base and the top. The existing windows where rearranged and adjusted to serve the new purpose. Rather than making a new extension with a clear division between new and old, the architect’s approach respectfully edits and rearranges the existing building while preserving the essence of the original design.
Classic modernistic materials, such as travertine, brass, marble and wood, were used to enhance the building’s architectural language. Travertine in particular plays a lead role in the project. The stone’s natural appearance from the quarry is recreated; the cloud-like appearance of horizontally cut surfaces serves as flooring whilst the layered appearance of the vertically cut surfaces serves as walls.
The restaurant on the ground floor is organised around an open kitchen, inviting the guests to observe the preparation of the food. The next three floors accommodate different hotel rooms and suites, each one individually designed with custom furniture and their own identity.
The two new top floors serve as Eilert’s Residence, a penthouse suite organised around a 3m diameter spiral staircase. A circular skylight above allows daylight to wash down into the entrance area beneath. The top floor has a panoramic view of the harbour and the roofscape of Stavanger’s historic centre.