The Viper Room, the legendary Los Angeles nightclub cofounded by Johnny Depp (and where River Phoenix overdosed) is set to get an architecturally ambitious replacement courtesy of Morphosis Architects. After developer Silver Creek Development Co. picked up the parcel in West Hollywood for $80 million in July of this year, it was announced that a 15-story hotel would go up on the site. Last week the public was given its first look at the replacement, which features a vise-like volume “clamping” down on a more traditional, loggia-adorned tower. The proposal also sports glassy ground-level retail bordered by V-shaped concrete columns. The 200-foot-tall hotel will feature 115 hotel rooms, 31 condo units, 10 affordable units, a gym, a spa, restaurants, a pool, and a new home for the Viper Room. It’s somewhat hard to see in the rendering, but the developer wants to include an 820-square-foot digital billboard on the Sunset Boulevard–facing facade. The project’s initial reveal came at a community meeting on December 11, where Silver Creek sought to solicit community feedback and refine the design. The hotel will move next to the West Hollywood Planning Commission’s Design Review Subcommittee, and then the Planning Commission proper. No construction timeline has been given as of yet.
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The first hotel from Detroit’s luxury watchmaker Shinola and developer Bedrock is open for business. The adaptive reuse project in Downtown Detroit, which has placed three new buildings as connective tissue between the former Singer Sewing Machine store and the Meyer Jewelry Building, is now taking reservations for stays beginning January 2, 2019. To celebrate the project’s completion, Shinola and Bedrock have released a batch of new photos detailing the hotel’s interiors, and the Shinola touch is prevalent throughout. The 129-room Shinola Hotel was a collaborative design effort between the New York–based Gachot Studios and the Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group. The end result features 50 different room configurations, ground-floor retail, and a line of Shinola products specially made for the hotel (including a desk clock, alpaca throw blanket, and a candle) across the complex’s five buildings. 1400 Woodward Avenue, built in 1915 and expanded in 1925, has been described by the Kraemer Design Group as “Detroit’s best example of art nouveau Sullivanesque-style architecture.” The former department store is the largest building in the full-block hotel, and a 1,600-square-foot Shinola store opened at the building’s base on November 23. The other existing building, a much shorter neo-classical storefront at 1416 Woodward, was built in 1936. Two of the new buildings, one five stories tall and the other eight-and-a-half stories tall, will open on Woodward, with a final, retail-oriented building on Farmer Street. A multi-story sky bridge will cross the alley at the back of the development and encourage circulation throughout the complex.
The Shinola Hotel in Detroit has shared new renderings of its interiors in advance of an anticipated December opening. The hotel, which will stand at 1400 Woodward Avenue in Downtown Detroit will feature subdued, warm interiors designed by New York–based Gachot Studios and Kraemer Design Group. Gachot Studios, purveyors of warm, elegant interiors, has worked with Shinola on their Los Angeles and Brooklyn stores and has extensive experience in hospitality for other clients. Kraemer Design Group is a Detroit firm with experience in local historic renovation projects and ground-up construction. The new hotel will incorporate renovated historic buildings, including an old department store and a former Singer sewing-machine store. In addition to 129 guest rooms, the hotel will also include a mix of lounges and restaurant spaces to attract the broader public. The concept follows the lead of the Portland-based Ace Hotels or New York's newer Public Hotel, which include public amenity spaces and are meant to attract people to work and hang out. The renovated interiors incorporate products of Michigan and are meant to emphasize material craft. Pewabic ceramics, stone finishes from Booms Stone Company, and decorative metalwork from Great Lakes Stainless are all made locally and are used in the design. The project, a collaboration with Detroit developer Bedrock, capitalizes on Shinola's reputation for high-quality design. Shinola was originally founded in upstate New York in the 19th century and became well known for shoe polish, but in 1960 the company went out of business. In 2011 a venture capitalist bought the rights to the brand and used it to lend prestige to a line of watches and leather goods.
CitizenM, the boutique hotel company founded in Amsterdam that prides itself on offering affordable luxury lodging, is opening its second hotel in New York and in the United States this week, on the Bowery on the Lower East Side in a building designed by Stephen B. Jacobs Group. The new hotel will be the brand’s first in the U.S. to use its prefabricated construction system, which no doubt helps make its luxury affordable. According to Rob Wagemans, the brand’s creative director who is also the founder of Concrete, an Amsterdam-based design firm, many citizenM hotels feature modular guest rooms that are prefabricated in a factory north of Gdansk, Poland, and then shipped by sea in containers to the hotels’ location. The Bowery hotel’s 300 165-square-foot prefabricated guest rooms, made of steel, with concrete floors covered with a wood laminate. were shipped containing most of their furniture, all pieces attached to the rooms’ walls or floor. The furniture includes a California king-size bed that is placed directly below the guest room’s window, which is located in one of its walls, and that lies flush against two other walls facing each other; an HD TV, with wiring done in Poland, that is located at the foot of the bed, mounted on the wall; a table next to one wall that contains the room’s iPad, which controls its lighting, blinds, and TV; a Corian vanity on the opposite wall that contains a sink, minibar, and mirror; and table lamps and a George Nelson lamp above the bed. The room’s frosted glassed-in combined shower and toilet space is also prefabricated; appliances here were made in Germany by Hansgrohe and shipped to Poland for installation Not sent by container is the rooms' movable furniture, such as a red-upholstered Eames chair from Vitra with an accompanying bench; decorative and visual art; and toiletries and toilet paper. Each modular unit consists of two guest rooms connected by a hallway, and 210 units were shipped to New York for the Bowery hotel. The hallway carpet here is decorated with local landmarks and was installed on-site. Wagemans said citizenM’s first hotel in the United States—located in Times Square—was not constructed with modular rooms because when it opened in 2014, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) would not permit installation of a sprinkler system that was built overseas and not been inspected locally. Robin Chadha, citizenM’s chief marketing officer, said that the administration of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio now looks favorably on prefabrication and is permitting DOB inspectors to go to Europe to inspect sprinklers in citizenM’s modular guest rooms. CitizenM declined to quantify savings afforded by guest room prefabrication, but said the units’ small size means they “generate up to 35 percent more hotel keys per property than a traditional hotel” and undoubtedly more revenue. Not all of the new Bowery hotel was prefabricated. Spaces that were not include the lobby, a ground floor cafe, a “living room” one floor below the first floor, and a rooftop bar with 360-degree views of the city. CitizenM, which owns and operates its 13 hotels worldwide, constructed the 246-feet-tall building the Bowery hotel occupies and claims it is one of the highest in its Lower East Side neighborhood. Eight of the brand’s 13 hotels feature modular guest rooms.
Modular construction is continuing its slow rise across the U.S. Last week Hilton publicized that its forthcoming mid-range Home2 Suites hotel in South San Francisco is being built using the technique. At a press event, officials watched cranes raise building modules into place on the hotel's site near the San Francisco International Airport. Hilton says that the hotel will be built faster thanks to off-site fabrication. Hilton is not the first hotel chain to experiment modular construction. Last year Marriott announced that they would be using the method to build their new hotels in the U.S., and hotels in Europe have been using modular construction for years. According to Hilton, this would, however, be the first hotel to use modular construction in the Bay Area, a region that has shown interest in adopting the construction technique more generally. Last year Google's parent company, Alphabet, announced that they would use modular construction to build housing on their growing Silicon Valley campus. Modular construction has had a rocky record in the U.S. While more companies and city governments are exploring it, high-profile debacles like the B2 tower designed by SHoP Architects have tempered momentum. According to a modular builder quoted in a 2017 USA Today article, the technique still composes only about three percent of all construction starts in North America. Hotels, with their arrays of repetitive units, make a natural fit for modular construction, which takes advantage of economies of scale to reduce costs. Hilton says that they were able to halve construction time for their new hotel and that it was built considerably faster than comparable non-modular projects in the area. They have not indicated whether they intend to continue using the strategy going forward.
Few cities wear their histories quite like New Orleans, where reinvention is always possible. That energy is epitomized by The Drifter Hotel, where hip locals gather with young travelers in a lushly planted courtyard around a pool that not too long ago was filled with dirt. Formerly the Rose Inn Motel, a dingy by-the-hour place with popcorn ceilings and smoke-stained carpets, the new 20-room hotel is a study in renewal on a limited budget—all within the guidelines of tax credits that mandated the keeping of historically significant elements, down to the painted stripes on the parking lot. It’s “a nod to 1950s midcentury architecture housed in a former motel,” said Jayson Seidman of Sandstone Hospitality Developments, who partnered with New Orleans architecture studio Concordia, interiors firm Nicole Cota Studio, and Costa Rican landscape design firm VIDA Design Studio to reimagine the all-American typology for a new century, while honoring its DNA. Uncovering the property’s potential required digging, both in terms of research—like hunting down a vintage postcard on eBay that showed the motel in its heyday—and getting down the bones. The first step involved rethinking the property’s relationship to cars for today’s travelers, who are more likely to Uber to the French Quarter than show up in the family station wagon. That meant relocating parking to a less prominent spot and transforming the former lot into a social space, centered on the restored pool. “Once we started selective demo, that's when things got really exciting,” said Joel Ross of Concordia. “We were able to peel off the layers of carpet, paint, and Sheetrock that the subsequent owners had put in and reveal these long-standing, simple, natural materials that were there.” As the 1950s structure unveiled itself, the team built upon what they found. When installing new pipes in the lobby—a 2,000-square-foot enclosure that had been cobbled into an apartment—required ripping up some of the original terrazzo, they patched the floor with handpicked shards of marble that reference the original pattern but give it an updated, oversize look. To keep that balance between old and new, interior designer Nicole Cota imagined an eccentric family of owners, each adding new layers of interest throughout the decades. “The most amazing properties I've seen here in New Orleans are the weird ones—artists’ homes that have been developed over a long period of time, evolved,” she explained. To create the look, Cota sourced vintage pieces and designed powder-coated outdoor chairs, complete with cup holders, and wood-backed loungers that she had fabricated by Mexa Design. A mix of Holly Hunt and Kravet textiles unify the new and found pieces. Pine tongue-and-groove paneling added period-appropriate interest to the ceiling (“a resourceful way to create bones that weren't there,” she said), while plywood stained with three coats of polyurethane and a fresh application of Benjamin Moore’s China White in high gloss gave the space a new sheen—a move Cota calls her “favorite trick.” Today, guests will find Instagram-worthy accents, like a palm-leaf mural by Alexandra Kilburn and a fiber-art installation, by Carlton Scott Sturgill, that climbs the brick, rather than clichés like fleur-de-lis and Mardi Gras beads. In the guest rooms, built-in furniture, white bath tile, and colorful cement floor tiles from Mexico offer an affordable update in which simple, off-the-shelf parts are combined to create a striking graphic look. The one thing guests won’t find is a TV—a move designed to encourage visitors to take advantage of the hotel’s public spaces and enjoy a part of the city not always on the tourist trail, something locals have already embraced. “The beauty of what we've done,” said Seidman, “is creating a hope for New Orleans.”
Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA) has unveiled new renderings for its 1040 La Brea hotel project in West Hollywood, California. The latest images come as the project team attempts to move through the design review process and were made in response to design critiques leveled at a previous review session. The fundamentals of the project remain the same. The 110-foot-tall building will contain 90 hotel units and eight apartments, with a collection of retail spaces and a new porte cochere occupying the ground floor along an alleyway. The nine-story “L”-shaped block features softly-curved geometries, including along its faceted corners and set-back faces. The structure’s four-story podium is topped by an amenity deck that is overlooked by the hotel rooms and apartments. Design changes include condensing and moving automobile access for the project away from busy La Brea and into the alley in order to improve the pedestrian experience along the street. The building has also changed color. The previous project was wrapped in nearly-black metal panels; These elements have been lightened in the new renderings. The mass of the building has also changed, with the latest version showing a series of inset loggia spaces overlooking the alley. Wehoville reports that Gwynne Pugh, a contract design consultant for the city of West Hollywood and principal at Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio, gave the revised proposal high marks in a report he presented in review of the project. Pugh’s report reads: “This is a very elegant and sophisticated building well-thought-out. The issues of previous concern have largely been addressed.” The project is up for review once again on Thursday evening. A timeline for the construction of the project has not been announced.
Forget all about skyscrapers hung from orbiting asteroids, the next big trend in astronomic real estate may be in space stations. Developer Orion Span has revealed Aurora Station, a luxury space hotel that will house guests 200 miles above the Earth’s surface come 2022. First announced at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California, on April 5, Aurora Station is laying claim to the world’s first fully-modular space station. While Aurora’s first capsule will only be 43.5 feet long and 14 feet across, renderings show the station branching out as extensions are added. “We developed Aurora Station to provide a turnkey destination in space. Upon launch, Aurora Station goes into service immediately, bringing travelers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before, while still providing an unforgettable experience,” said chief executive officer and founder of Orion Span, Frank Bunger, in a press release. “Orion Span has additionally taken what was historically a 24-month training regimen to prepare travelers to visit a space station and streamlined it to three months, at a fraction of the cost. Our goal is to make space accessible to all, by continuing to drive greater value at lower cost.” The aforementioned three-month training certification, the Orion Span Astronaut Certification (OSAC), is completed in three parts; the first online, the second at Orion Span’s state-of-the-art training facility in Houston, Texas, and the third on Aurora Station itself. While rocket launches have become exponentially cheaper in recent years thanks to private competition, guests will still pay a premium for their zero-gravity stay aboard Aurora Station. A 12-day trip will cost $9.5 million per person, or nearly $800,000 per day, with a refundable $80,000 deposit. According to Orion Span, the first four months of reservations have already sold out in the three days since the station was revealed. The initial Aurora Station capsule would fit six astronauts in a 35-foot-by-14-foot living space, two of whom would be trained crew. Once onboard, guests could watch the sun rise and set as the station rotated around the Earth every 90 minutes, grow food, and use a VR setup that Orion Span has dubbed a “holodeck”. While space tourism is nothing new (Russia is aiming to attach a luxury hotel to the International Space Station by 2022), it remains to be seen how much of Orion Span’s plan will be realized. As Bloomberg notes, the company hasn’t released its funding goals or contracted a launch provider yet, and the four-year window is an ambitious one for building a space station. Still, if Aurora gets into Low Earth Orbit in 2021 and begins accepting guests in 2022, Orion Span plans to branch out into space condos and may sell attachable capsules for those looking to claim a slice of space life.
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Electrochromic glass by SageGlass allows for facade shading without impeding views. This technology is perhaps most beneficial in a place like downtown Geneva, Switzerland, where mid-rise housing and office blocks frame distant views to snow-capped mountains and Lake Geneva. Recently, the Warwick Geneva Hotel became the first hotel in the world to be fitted with SageGlass’s dynamic glass products. The building, which first opened in 1972, is a collection of 167 rooms and suites as well as seven meeting rooms, in the center of the city. With this spectacular setting, the hotel owner sought a solar control solution that would block harsh UV rays while affording views to the city and beyond. The solution was to retrofit over 10,000 square feet of glazing with a new dynamic glass material that automatically tints when exposed to the sun. The material is incorporated into SageGlass’s thermally calibrated units via three zones within a single pane of glass to help establish a more balanced distribribution of daylight. Similar to eyeglasses that passively tint when exposed to daylight, dynamic glass is an electrochromic glazing that is integrated with a building management system. The units have the the ability to automatically tint, and also tint “on demand” when requested by room occupants. For instance, in Warwick Geneva, meeting rooms will often use this function during video projection presentations. The facade intelligence allows the building envelope to maximize daylighting while reducing heat and glare, and maintaining views outward.Alfonso-Agustín González García, architect at dl-c, designlab-construction, a Swiss-based firm, said dynamic glass was a material familiar to the office but was introduced to the project from the client. The architects worked around existing precast concrete “portal” shaped panels, detailing the replacement windows. This process led to a more vertically oriented proportioning system. The installation process was celebrated as an “efficient and flexible” process by Alain Rigazzi, director of the hotel, “Thanks to the new SageGlass facade, our guests benefit from a very effective thermal and acoustic insulation. The efficient and flexible installation process allowed us to complete the renovation without ever closing the hotel.” The thermal performance of the replacement window units is expected to allow the building to meet Switzerland's contemporary energy regulations. The retrofit has contributing to reduced heating and cooling costs, while satisfying owner desire to re-establish a visual connection to the surrounding context.
New York-based ODA Architects and developer All Year Management have released renderings for their latest project in Brooklyn, a five-story, 100-key hotel already under construction in Crown Heights. Reminiscent of M.C. Escher’s Ascending and Descending, the hotel at 1550 Bedford Avenue will feature a looped, sloping roof that encircles a central courtyard at ground level. The most prominent feature of the 38,000-square-foot project, christened the Bedford Hotel, will likely be the ring of archways that completely wrap around the building’s base. In creating a porous entryway, ODA tried to encourage curious passerbys to enter and make use of the public plaza, as well as openly explore. Outside of the hotel portion of the building, a banquet hall, retail options, and restaurants will all be publicly accessible. A rooftop bar and several “floating gardens” are also planned for the cascading roof. While the hotel’s defining arches may seem out of place in a neighborhood filled mainly with brownstones, row houses, and historic brick apartment buildings, ODA has tried to nod towards the masonry-heavy vernacular of the surrounding area by cladding the building in dark stone. Inside, the suites are more in line with what might be expected of a trendy hotel, as lightly colored wood wraps the sinuous interiors of the seemingly smaller hotel rooms. ODA explained that this is to "hug residents and guests with curved edges that allude to the building’s bent shape." ODA is on a tear lately, and 1550 Bedford Avenue recalls their similarly shaped 10 Montieth Street project in Bushwick. Although the circuitous, tweaked roof is similar, the Bedford Hotel will hopefully prove more open to the rest of the neighborhood than its hulking predecessor. As CityRealty noted, this section of Brooklyn is lacking in hotel space, and the previously vacant plot that the hotel is rising on was only zoned for commercial development. Although permits for the project were initially filed in July of last year, construction has only recently begun. Owing to the area’s proximity to Prospect Park and several subway lines, the neighborhood has become a hotspot for development in recent years, and the Bedford Hotel will ultimately sit across the street from the controversial Bedford-Union Armory.
It has been 11 months since ground was broken on the Shinola Hotel in Downtown Detroit. Detroit-based real estate firm Bedrock and Detroit-based watch company Shinola have just released new renderings of the forthcoming project. Expected to be completed in late 2018, the hotel will fit into two existing buildings and additional new infill buildings along a quickly-developing stretch of Woodward Avenue in Downtown Detroit. New York-based Gachot Studios and Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group worked together on the design, which includes 130 rooms and ground-floor retail. Rather than a completely new structure, the hotel is being built into two existing buildings, 1400 and 1416 Woodward Avenue, with three new infill buildings connecting and extending the footprint of the two. When completed, each of the interlocked buildings will maintain a varied material and color palette along the street facade to better match the surrounding city fabric. Bedrock has been responsible for some of the most ambitious recent development in Downtown Detroit. Co-founded by Detroit native and Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert, Bedrock is the developer behind the proposed 52-story SHoP-designed tower, which is scheduled to break ground this week. Shinola is also well known in Detroit for its Detroit-first business model. Initially started as a watch company, it now produces leather goods, bicycles, and, most recently, audio equipment. Shinola has been vocal about bringing small industry back to Detroit and providing jobs for the city’s residents. Additionally, the leather and many of the components for Shinola products are made in the United States and assembled in the company’s Detroit factory. The company has not been without its critics. Some have pointed out that since the watches are made with inexpensive quartz movement, instead of self-winding mechanical movement, they are decidedly overpriced. Others have noted that the Texas-based parent company of Shinola simply chose to open shop in Detroit for marketing reasons. In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission also had something to say about the company’s marketing, ordering it to stop using the phrase “Where America is Made,” as certain watches it sells are made of materials produced 100% outside of the United States. Despite these criticisms, the company has been praised by the likes of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, who have both purchased watches. Shinola has also played a role in shaping Detroit by opening a leash-less dog park, and donating four large building clocks to the City of Detroit, to be installed at cultural institutions. Ironically, the retail space of the new hotel is not planned to include a Shinola store. Even so, when the project opens in approximately one year, there will be no mistake about the lifestyle and brand the company is promoting in America's Comeback City.
Hoteliers and musicians smashed guitars in Hollywood, Florida to celebrate a construction milestone at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, a $1.5 billion entertainment complex featuring a mega guitar–shaped hotel. The 450-foot-tall hotel will boast more than 600 rooms, around half of the complex's total, plus a 41,000-square-foot spa and a few restaurants. At the tower's base, guests can swim underneath waterfalls in plunge pools, relax in private cabanas, and partake in water sports in a giant artificial lake. Right now, the existing Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood hotel has almost 500 rooms, as well as a casino, meeting space, restaurants, and a lagoon pool. Guitars are a popular motif all over the Hard Rock hotel and restaurant empire, but this is the first of the company's buildings to so closely resemble the actual instrument. Vertical fins up the tower's midline resemble strings, while horizontal banding act as 'frets' (though unlike real frets they extend outward to mimic the curve of the instrument). “It will be the first building in the world that’s truly to scale designed as an authentic guitar,” James 'Jim' Allen, Seminole gaming CEO and chairman of Hard Rock International, told the Sun Sentinal. “So it’s not just an exterior facade, the curving of the building will be identical to an authentic guitar." Though it might be the largest guitar building, it might not be the first. In 1996, architect Glenn Williams designed a Guitar House for himself in Venice, California that was inspired by Picasso's cubist rendering of the instrument. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) has reached out to Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood for more details on the building's design and construction, and will update readers as more information becomes available. Footage from the October 25 event showed workers atop the first few swishy floors. "To do this...to have a guitar shaped hotel—the only thing I'm a little concerned with is it's not a drum!" joked Nicko McBrain, a resident of nearby Ft. Lauderdale and a drummer in the British metal band Iron Maiden. The hotel opening is slated for summer 2019, but the complex's revamp goes way beyond its signature structure. In March, the 5,500-seat onsite theater will be demolished and replaced by Hard Rock Live, a 7,000-seat, $100 million venue. The casino will double in size, too, and the Seminole tribe is adding meeting space and 60,000 square feet of new retail and restaurants. The projects are timed to open before 2020, when NFL championship teams will face off at the Populous-designed (and HOK-renovated) Miami Dolphins stadium. It's a couple of states away, but this jammer should put rawkers in the mood for the hotel's opening: