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05.14.2014
Unveiled> Alessandra Hotel
Gensler's Houston luxury tower looks toward the future.
Courtesy Gensler

Alessandra Hotel
Architect: Gensler
Client: Midway Companies
Location: Houston, TX
Completion: Fall 2016

“Iconic” is the word that design architect Kap Malik of Gensler emphasized while describing Hotel Alessandra, the latest luxury accommodation set to rise in downtown Houston. Developer Midway Companies commissioned the 25-story, 225-room hotel, which will also feature retail, residential, and entertainment space. Slated for completion in time for Superbowl LI in 2017, the project’s sleek design “looks toward the future,” said Malik.

Client check-in is in a 24th-floor sky lobby. A wine bar, pool deck with a retractable roof, and fine dining restaurant on the 25th floor immerse guests in both luxury and a panoramic view of the city. The ground floor boasts conference facilities. Malik designed the hotel with “something on every level” and each room will be decked out with the latest technology.

Glass ceilings permit guests in the lobby to see through to the top floor restaurant. Visual continuity is a motif that Malik incorporated throughout the design, most noticeably with the use of the “eyebrow,” a unifying design element that stretches from the top of the hotel to the bottom. The swooping line, highlighted at night by LEDs, seeks to communicate elegance and luxury.

Malik’s use of exterior materials dovetails with the eyebrow’s profile, with rough textures graduating to more delicate surfaces up the elevation. The base of the building incorporates stone, glass, and metal, while the tower skin features dichroic glass that emits colored hues when struck by light. The result is a unique pattern that changes throughout the course of each day—a kaleidoscopic effect that offers a uniform brilliance to the whole design.

Elisia Guerena