Evidence of a hardworking history remains visible in the renovation of the 43,000-square foot Wythe Hotel by Morris Adjmi Architects. A clue to this industrial past may be built right into the hotel’s corner entrance, a curvy sliver of glass that follows the unusual contours of the facade—the expected right angle has been scooped away, leaving a concave hollow that runs the height of the building. According to local lore, this quirky indentation supported a kind of external conveyor-belt for barrels.
Adjmi transformed the former factory into a series of inviting public spaces, including a tiled-floor restaurant, a barrel-vaulted banquet hall, a screening room, and a rooftop bar with spectacular city views. But it’s the private spaces that set the hotel apart. With one deft move—raising the floors on guestroom levels with two feet of poured concrete—Adjmi accomplished several things at once: the height of old window frames was effectively lowered, making the rooms feel more open and spacious; it became possible to hide some mechanical systems and integrate new radiant heating, which will keep the uncarpeted rooms warm in winter; and thanks to the thick layer of concrete between floors, original pine ceiling beams could be left in place and still comply with fire codes.
The guestrooms are notably light on sound-absorbing textiles, but thanks to the layers of concrete, cork tiles in the hallways, and new insulated glass in the windows, serenity reigns.
Adjmi’s biggest intervention was on the western side of the building, which became all windows. “We tried to design a facade that drew on the factory window aesthetic,” said Adjmi of the 10,000 square foot addition, “and then extended it all the way up to the roof and the three new floors.”