The Scots Hotel

The Scots Hotel

DownTown Tiberias

Positioned in the town center of Tiberias, the Scots complex extends over a 16 dunam plot, from the shores of the Sea of Galilee to the mountain slopes. The complex consists of several 19th century buildings including the first hospital ever built in the region. Despite some extensions, and the fact that many of the basalt stone walls were refurbished with plaster, the buildings were reasonably preserved by the Church of Scotland, who converted the hospital into the St. Andrews Guesthouse in the 1950s. When the guesthouse was closed, the owners decided to build a 150 room four-star hotel. The project was commissioned to Ishai-Wilson Architecture, who were also responsible for the urban development and the interior design. Although the name of the architect who planned the original hospital is unknown, the hospital was inaugurated in 1894 by its founder, Dr. David Watt Torrence, who traveled to Istanbul to purchase the land and organize the building permits.

The new hotel was planned as an urban campus comprised of three refurbished 19th century buildings and a new five-floor 50-room building. A peripheral road for cars and pedestrian pathways organize movement within the campus and to its surrounding urban streets. The new building is connected to the three reconstructed ones by a central courtyard and a paved path. The hospital building now houses all the public facilities - the kitchen, dining room, seating areas, while two of the historic buildings were renewed to house 19 guest rooms each.

The measure of stability of the historical buildings determined their preservation process. Different areas required reinforcement or completion, and in some areas openings were made to provide easier access and windows to the view. Thus, the project exhibits a repertoire of conservation concepts gradually integrating the conserved buildings with the new structures.

The historical architecture has been generally well exploited for its new purpose. There will always be room for debate on the stylistic emphasis of a building with such a mixed heritage. Accent notes provide a stylistic reminder of the Scots influence upon the turn-of-century European Art Nouveau style. The famous chairs designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1897 are here, as are contemporary pieces imported from Istanbul.

In the modification of the old residences bedrooms the original stone walls were exposed, creating some rather unique hotel rooms. The ceilings in the public spaces were revealed and refurbished, acoustic panels were added to obscure some of the infrastructure, though the air-conditioning system was left unconcealed. Although less constrained than the relatively moderate architectural style of the exteriors, the interior walls in the public spaces were plastered in colorful stucco reminiscent of the Mediterranean Fresco.

The windows and doors are steel framed and classically partitioned. The ambience of the original architectural style is sustained by the antique furniture - some original, other pieces refurbished or imported from Turkey. The basalt stone terraces fuse the different levels of the complex with the urban environment, while the bright white stone used in the facades of two of the reconstructed buildings and in the new building, expresses a freer interpretation of the historic site.

A new bridge links the campus with the lake-side and the swimming pool east of the complex. An additional eight-floor building and a church intended also for concerts are planned for the second phase of expansion. The church will open onto Dona Garcia - the only remaining historical road in Tiberias.

Architects: Ishai-Wilson Architecture,

Edna Ishai, Alan Wilson

Landscape Architect: Berman-Margolin, Ishai-Wilson Architecture.

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