Bursa Hotel Complex by Balbek Bureau

Designed in 2018 by Balbek Bureau, Bursa is an eclectic hotel complex situated in Kyiv, Ukraine.

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About Bursa

BURSA: A Blend of History and Modernity in Kyiv

Describing BURSA in a single word proves challenging. More than just a hotel or restaurant, it’s an art-filled haven nestled amidst Kyiv’s historic heart, Podil. From our initial meeting with BURSA’s founder, there was an undeniable synergy. Afterward, months of meticulous planning and construction led to a unique, multifunctional space, fusing design, art, and philosophy.

Architectural Harmony: Old Meets New

Integrating buildings aged one and two centuries respectively, BURSA added a modern block, weaving a visual tapestry of architectural epochs. This design bridges the gap between historical reverence and modern innovation. Interestingly, with 200 years under its belt, BURSA’s eldest structure isn’t just historically remarkable. It’s a portal into Ukraine’s past, having sheltered academy students and even the renowned Kyiv architect, Andrey Melenskiy, in the 18th century.

Adapting BURSA’s historically rich building necessitated a delicate approach. Consequently, the ‘adaptive reuse’ strategy adopted by architects ensured preservation while catering to contemporary needs. Emphasizing preservation, key architectural elements remained untouched. Meanwhile, newer additions, while distinct, harmoniously mirrored the structure’s original essence.

Inside BURSA: A Bauhaus Beacon

BURSA’s ensemble includes an art gallery, 33 uniquely designed hotel rooms spanning four floors, the ground-level Belyi Shum restaurant (translated as ‘White Noise’), and the rooftop bar, 1818. Throughout the expanse, the Bauhaus design principle reverberates, championing architectural functionality through unembellished geometric forms. Each space within BURSA showcases this Bauhaus influence: crisp lines, straightforward forms, and a chiefly monochrome palette with sporadic color bursts for distinction. Furthermore, even the most compact room feels expansive, thanks to strategic layout, color, lighting, and minimalism.

Authenticity at Its Core

True authenticity demands originality. For us, every design detail, material, and furnishing must echo genuine intent. In the Belyi Shum Café, a brick frieze made from contemporaneous bricks seamlessly integrates with the wall. Additionally, Belyi Shum’s restaurant chairs, sourced from Parisian and Norwegian antique markets, exude authenticity after careful restoration.

1818: A Rooftop Reverie

Named after its foundational year, the rooftop bar, 1818, mirrors BURSA’s overarching design simplicity. In contrast, with a stunning medley of architectural silhouettes forming its backdrop, the rooftop design remains purposefully understated. After all, nothing should rival the panoramic architectural splendor it overlooks.

Photography by Yevhenii Avrame

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- by Matt Watts