Palermo, Italy

Hotel & Congress Center

Restore the waterfront to empower the community


Client: Magazzini Generali
Location: Palermo (IT)
Size: 12.500 sqm
Program: Hospitality, Mixed Use, Retail, Urban Design
Status: In Design
Year: 2022
Project Team: Parallel Collective, GAD

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The Port of Palermo is undergoing a rapid transformation, shifting from an industrial hub to a thriving tourist destination, seamlessly integrating with the city through a lively waterfront. This transformation necessitates a sparkling urban catalyst with the opening of a new hotel and congress center.

Located in proximity to the restored ancient bastions, and the new waterfront park, the site is characterized by two industrial buildings and a large parking lot. By demolishing the front building and reusing the large concrete storage, the masterplan envisions to restore urban permeability and generate a central urban piazza, connected with the waterfront and contaminated by the adjacent park with an organic system of green and blue open spaces.


The piazza hosts the new congress center, with a maximum capacity of 1,000 people, featuring an organic sculptural shape that stands as a new landmark for the city and its port. The existing concrete warehouse now accommodates the new hotel, where the remodeling and carving of the existing structure introduce green patios to enhance the quality views for all 155 rooms and suites, the restaurants, and the rooftop club. The ground floor becomes an active part of the city, featuring a highly permeable double-height lobby, retail functions, and additional flexible facilities for the congress center


The architecture dynamically expresses the Mediterranean roots and the maritime nature of this new urban destination. The interplay of light and shadows, the vibrant colors, and the materiality of both facades and interiors, coupled with the introduction of green patios, reinterprets the architecture of Palermo’s historic city center.

Overhangs and fins shaping the facades regulate incident solar radiation, particularly crucial during the hottest months. Green patios and water bodies encourage natural ventilation, enhanced by evaporative cooling. Large roofs adorned with photovoltaics maximize local power generation. Additionally, a system of heat pumps establishes a constant heat exchange with seawater, significantly reducing energy consumption.

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The new urban waterfront encapsulates contemporary urban trends, creating a vibrant common ground for sharing ideas.
Serving as a manifesto of beauty and sustainability deeply rooted in Mediterranean culture, it acts as a pivotal reference for the rapid transformation of the port into a thriving and dynamic part of the city.

Hotel & Congress Center