Hotel Bohinj in Slovenia gets a makeover by OFIS Architects
Slovenian architecture studio OFIS breathes new life into the country’s Bohinj Hotel in the Julian Alps, blending sustainability with expert wood designs and contemporary styling
Slovenian studio OFIS has launched the newly redesigned Bohinj Hotel, located in the heart of Triglav National Park, below the Julian Alps. OFIS has partnered with young investor Damian Merlak for the radical overhaul, celebration of wooden architecture and part of Merlak’s ongoing project to bring sustainable new life to key hotels in this spectacular glacial valley, Zlatorog Hotel at Vogel Ski Hotel.
The business was formerly known as the Kimpas Hotel. It had evolved slowly over the years, a mix of ersatz Alpine vernaculars and clunky modern extensions. OFIS founders Rok Oman and Špela Videčnik led the renovation project, which includes 69 rooms, as well as a restaurant, spa, café and conference center.
The spectacular new entrance facade of the hotel
A new extension completely modifies the entrance facade of the hotel, providing space for an awning, a double-height lobby and a restaurant. The extension places more emphasis on the region’s traditional sloping roofs, while making an oblique reference to peaks in distance. The hotel now has 69 rooms of different sizes, all with panoramic views and balconies. Some suites have a semi-open bathroom to the elements for outdoor bathing.
Larch siding is used throughout, with patterns and details inspired by the landscape and traditional local crafts. The long common corridors are inspired by the region’s unique hay racks, elaborate wooden structures that quickly disappear due to neglect. OFIS hopes that pointing out these examples of unique cultural heritage can help to preserve them.
The existing hotel did not suit the impressive location, which stands on a plateau on the shore of Lake Bohinj, in a beautiful alpine setting. OFIS kept the basic volume of the structure but wrapped the whole structure in a wood and metal frame which completely transformed the building. In addition to creating new balconies and modifying the massing, the frame provides structural protection against frequent earthquakes in the region.
The frame gives the facade a dramatic angle, while incorporating gutters and other services that would have been expensive to renovate into the existing building. Specially varnished larch wood cladding covers other new exterior elements, giving the hotel a naturally weathered appearance.
One of the 69 rooms, with its new balcony
In addition to emphasizing local products and suppliers – the wine club is based on Slovenian winemakers – all hotel furniture and accessories are made by local companies, including chairs, benches, curtains, upholstery and lighting. The architects also worked with pioneering Slovenian studio Futro Design on the graphics. A new swimming pool is part of the hotel’s wellness center, and guests are encouraged to swim in the glacial waters of Lake Bohinj, known to be exceptionally pure, albeit cold.
The renovation significantly improved the energy efficiency of the original building, adding key elements of sustainable architecture, such as new insulation and new glazing, while ground source heat pumps provide part of the energy needs. . LEDs are used throughout, with the exterior lighting scheme dimmed to preserve the dark skies of the national park. §