The Sleep Hotel

A Refuge for Healthy Slumber on the Edge of the Sea

In modern society, sleep has become a necessary evil, a wasteful and pointless activity. As an architectural critique to this disregard of slumber, The Sleep Hotel is a refuge for the reintroduction of healthy sleep patterns that have been lost.

The project was born from an exploration of memory and reverie, inspired by the Madeleine Moment in Marcel Proust’s novel In Remembrance of Things Past, wherein the seven volumes of prose unfold from the memories recalled by the smell of a madeleine biscuit being dunked in a cup of tea. Memory researcher Marigold Linton dubbed these involuntary glimpses ‘precious fragments’ of internalised memories. Sleep plays a crucial part in this process. During our deepest Non-REM sleep, electrical signals called sleep spindles empty our short-term memory and move our experiences to the long-term storage site of the cerebral cortex. And our REM-sleep, during which we dream, is essential to our emotional stability, our problem-solving skills, and not least our creativity.

The concept of the project grew to be an interpretation of the movement from a wakeful state to the realm of slumber. As such, it was designed to be experienced as a spatial sequence from arrival to sleep. From the main approach on the train platform, the guest descends past twelve levels with cypresses, the rhythm of which already symbolic of a shift in pace, a transition from the fast pace of modern life to a slower, organic rhythm. At the bottom level, the noise of water from the above stream crashing into a pool marks the passage into the domain of restfulness and sleep.

Upon entering the Vault, a space which tunnels underneath the road, the guest is met with the reception of the hotel. Here they check in, leaving all prohibited items like laptops, smartphones and caffeinated beverages. They’re also provided with a comfy robe, that they may change into immediately in the adjoining changing rooms. From the Vault, the guests ascend to the inside of the Refuge, revealing an open view of the bay and the horizon.

After entering the sanctuarylike inner domain of the hotel, the guest may head straight for the sleeping rooms, The Cribs, or unwind in the different facilities of the hotel. The Restaurant, Library, Bar and Bathhouse are designed in the same architectural language, grounded by visible concrete foundations and heavy brick walls, while the roof floating above the structure and the facades facing the sea are in aluminium panels and glass.

The Sleepwalk, the pathway that joins together all the different facilities of the hotel, is in itself a public program, as well as the pristine, white beach along Venø Bay and the tranquility of the environment, which becomes an integral part of the architecture. The guests might take walks up and down the shore, or go to the end of the Sleepwalk and feel the Western wind in their faces on a stormy day, before going back to sleep.

Finally, the Cribs, the individual rooms of the hotel. In these deliberately monofunctional spaces, the bedroom grew into the entirety of the hotel room, making the large circular bed the centerpiece of the building. The tall space above the bed is outfitted with a mat, metallic dome, that reflects diffuse light downwards from the clerestory windows. A long, heavy curtain can be drawn all the way around the space to create total darkness for sleeping.

Type: Academic

Program: Hotel, Restaurant, Bar, Library and Bathhouse

Location: Venø Bay

Period: 2018

Reading: Fragments