The Hotel PUR : Simplicity + balance
The Hotel PUR
Simplicity + balance
J.P., August 25, 2008
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


After months of refurbishment spearheaded by the firm bisson | associés, Hotel PUR opened its doors last May in a renovated building from the St-Roch neighbourhood in Québec City. The metamorphosis that has taken place is rooted in simplicity, elegance and refinement in terms of space, materials and lighting. The new Hotel PUR is a large-scale operation and offers more than 220 lengthy rooms, all of which give on to the city. The revitalization of the hotel, owned by the Willow Hotels group, emphasises the lines of the original concrete exterior. The urban lifestyle of the environment constitutes the main backdrop experienced by those staying at the hotel, an atmosphere that changes according to the room, the time of day or night, the season and so on.

Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


The architecture and interior design of the building are minimalist, comfortable and sensual, going hand in hand with the ever-changing face of this generous city. The two volumes that make up the building have been completely restored from the outside. The architect, Jonathan Bisson, explains, “we stabilised the concrete exterior and replaced the original windows while maintaining the 1970s personality of the facade. This did not affect the overall balance of the building and highlighted its contemporary outline.” The 18-storey tower also features a basilaire that has been revamped in accordance with the atmosphere of the existing forms and draped with a large-scale curtain wall. The new glass walls at the end of each room enable more untrammelled interaction between rooms and the urban environment on to which they look down.

Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


Another fine example of spatial manipulation is afforded by the layout of the hotel lobby, the original dimensions of which have been reduced to a smaller, more intimate scale with a view to orientating guests directly towards the reception area. Within this white, minimalist area, a sculpted bench in worked, formed steel - the signature theme of the hotel - not only guides guests towards the reception desk but also screens the lounge-cafe area and provides a partition for the baggage racks. Indeed the choice of furniture as a whole stems from this artistic and functional design.

Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


Owing to the continuity between the internal layout and the cityscapes, the Hotel PUR is able to offer its guests rooms that project out into the surrounding city, lengthy rooms where wall texture joins forces with the linearity of the flooring to further emphasise the already marked perspective effect. Neutral colours and minimalist furniture truly help to highlight the visual panorama on show, while the architecture used provides the framework and subtly and elegantly breathes life into the whole ensemble. "The basic idea was to eliminate architectural barriers so that guests could spatially experience the city of Québec,” points out Jonathan Bisson. Air-conditioning units are placed discretely out of the way, television screens are positioned in the new glass wall of each room, beds are placed in the centre of the room and orientated towards the window: nothing has been left to tradition in this building, which is the only one of comparable height in the neighbourhood. A delicate opaque-transparent mix in the glass wall together with the removal of the mullions from the floor-to-ceiling windows in order not to interfere with the view, are techniques that the architects have used to focus attention on the unrestricted views of the city.

Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


In addition to renovating the outside of the building, the Willow Hotels group, who also own The Shoreham, The Franklin and The Mansfield hotels in New York, entrusted bisson | associés with full responsibility for the layout of the interior, the design of certain major pieces of furniture, and the choice of materials and lighting for the initial phase of the project. The second phase, which is currently at the design stage, will include a restaurant, a bar/lounge with its outdoor cafés, boutiques, a swimming pool and meeting rooms. The freedom that the architects enjoyed enabled them to fully develop their ideas from the outside structure down to the most minute details, thus maintaining the coherent approach and the continuity that have been the driving force of the project.

Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


Light plays a fundamental role in the design of the Hotel PUR. The linearity and the purity of light have constituted the underlying thrust of the project; light has demarcated the different areas, endowing each of them with a clearly stated function. Light has also been used to give rhythm to the paths taken by users, enabling them to create their own individual images of the hotel. An example of this is the transition from the stark whiteness of the entrance into the semi-darkness of the corridors on each floor leading to rooms flooded with daylight: guests follow an unusual light path featuring tremendous contrasts. This path enables them to fully appreciate the beauty of the space and the views they discover, whilst simultaneously stimulating their imagination.

Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


The Hotel PUR showcases its materials, its different zones and visions of the city just as a film might do, bristling with emotion and anticipation. In this world of black, white and grey, orange is the only accent colour used to evoke the visual identity of the hotel. Set in these neutral hues, every detail is highlighted: from the unsurfaced concrete to the bas-reliefs of the wall paper, the profiles of the city, the details of the furnishings, and the minimalist spatial volumetry. It is economy of means that guided the architects unswervingly to their achievement. By bringing out what was already present in terms of views, materials and light, the designers sifted out the hidden beauty and the resultant effect is even more impressive.

Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


The in-depth architectural work of bisson | associés, rooted in the balancing of solids and gaps, lines and volumes, in the juxtaposition and contrasting of textures, has succeeded in creating a world that is at once rich yet subtle.The Hotel PUR has been well patronised since its official opening last May. It appeals to an open-minded clientele – one that is both urban and urbane - but also to those who are unabashed aficionados of architecture, art and design. Rooms are very reasonably priced (around $200) and the hotel is a model of successful transformation and an example to all who seek to strike the right balance between comfort, accessibility, spatial expertise, materials, light and choice of furnishings.

Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés


Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés
Hotel Pur_Bisson-associés