On Halloween, we dressed as astronauts and boarded the space ship that has landed in McCarren Park – the William Vale Hotel. The hotel, designed by Albo Liberis, sits adjacent to McCarren Park, two blocks from the Williamsburg waterfront. The 20-story structure stands out in the Williamsburg skyline, where the building stock is primarily made up of four- to six-story buildings. Nick Liberis of Albo Liberis, and Amy, Lindsay, and David from the William Vale Hotel, led us on a tour highlighting the hotel’s urban features, event spaces, and retail spaces.
The William Vale Hotel, which opened on September 2, 2016, sits on a 50,000-square-foot site that is sloped seven feet from one side of the site to the other. The hotel is made up of three buildings; there are two short buildings on the east and west ends of the site and a tower that springs from the middle.
The tower contains six stories of office space and ten stories of hotel rooms. A large sculptural truss acts as the base of the tower. The truss is made up of five pieces – four legs and one center truss – which land on a massive beam at the base of the site. This six-story truss base, currently used as office space, allows for spectacular views for the ten stories of hotel rooms above. Due to a zoning quirk that allowed for the building of smoke stacks, the designers could max out the height of the building.
The downstairs event spaces, including the conference center and ballroom, are submerged in the cellar on the south side of the building, allowing for 27-foot-high ceilings. Interiors were designed by Studio Munge, a Toronto-based interior design firm. Studio Munge and Albo Liberis worked closely together to create a contemporary line motif based on the large truss that the buildings rest on.
This design is carried throughout the building and can be seen in the ballroom, hotel rooms, and public spaces. Studio Munge and Albo Liberis also worked carefully to source materials for each individual space.
Another benefit of the set-back, raised structure is the creation of an expansive urban green space below. Albo Liberis wanted to integrate the building with the urban fabric by creating a courtyard and lawn that would blend seamlessly with the neighborhood. At street level, the retail storefronts read as the same height as the buildings that surround the hotel.
One flight up, the public can enjoy rolling green hills and food from Mister Dips, an airstream parked on the roof, owned by Andrew Carmellini. Carmelini directs the entire food program at the hotel, including the restaurant on the ground floor, Leuca, and Westlight, the rooftop bar and restaurant.
Liberis and the William Vale Hotel team also led us to the very top of the hotel, a private event space on the roof. As the tallest building in the surrounding area, the views are amazing.
Author: Katie Mullen.