Posts tagged with "Hotels":

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Hilton building a San Francisco-area hotel using modular construction

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.
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In New Orleans, a team of creative collaborators resurrects a down-on-its-luck motel

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.”
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Neil M. Denari Architects releases revised renderings for West Hollywood hotel

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. 
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First-ever luxury space hotel shoots for the stars

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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Rockin’ guitar-shaped Florida hotel celebrates construction milestone

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:
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Neil Denari designs nine-story West Hollywood hotel development

Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA) has unveiled renderings for a new mixed-use hotel and apartment complex in West Hollywood, California that features filleted corners, tapered walls, and wedge-shaped windows. The midrise block would bring a 91-key hotel as well as eight apartments to a corner site along the city’s La Brea Avenue corridor. The somewhat sleepy quadrant of the city that has seen renewed investment interest in recent years, especially from the hotel industry, Wehoville reports. NMDA’s proposal rises nine stories and is arranged with its tallest levels hugging the street. The hotel’s double-loaded corridor configuration is supplemented along lower levels by the building’s parking podium, which wraps around the hotel program, taking up the entirety of the site. The four-level podium is topped by an amenity deck that contains a swimming pool and lounge, among other uses.   The building also features ground floor retail spaces that are set back from the sidewalk and exist below overhanging building elements. The structure is supported by large piers along the street that carve up storefront spaces and demarcate the building’s lobby areas. The tower’s facade is studded with gridded, floor-to-ceiling window assemblies that are interrupted by alternating vertical window bands. The exterior of the structure is clad in what appear to be black metal panels. NMDA’s proposal would take over an existing car garage and would help to spread development southward from the city’s bustling Sunset Boulevard, where Gehry Associates is attempting to build its controversial 8150 Sunset project. Gehry’s project has drawn community ire for being perceived as too tall for the area and for not having enough parking. Initial reaction to NMDA’s hotel has been more muted, however, with Gwynne Pugh, principal of Urban Studio—West Hollywood’s urban design consultant—giving the project positive marks, saying, “this building will act as a significant marker and gateway into the city of West Hollywood. In addition, the choice of color, a dark grey, really creates an eye-catching and slightly foreboding vision.” A timeline for the project has not been announced.
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Wellness design is spreading across hospitality architecture and beyond

Fifty years ago, the term wellness—if it was used at all—essentially meant “not sick.” Then, throughout the ’80s and ’90s, the rise of gym culture and workplace wellness snowballed into an explosion of fitness boutiques in the early aughts. In city centers and upscale suburbs today, specialized fitness boutiques such as SoulCycle, PureBarre, Barry’s Bootcamp, and FlyWheel are nearly as ubiquitous as Starbucks. Combined with the rapid expansion of “health” branded grocery stores, an uptick in haute athletic wear, and a plethora of juice and smoothie companies, not to mention the surrounding media buzz, wellness has become not so much a trend as a booming industry.

Hotel conglomerates took note about a decade ago, assuming that the same kale-juice-chugging travelers frequenting SoulCycle and Whole Foods would want to stick to their wellness routines on the road. In 2010, Wyndham acquired TRYP, a subset of hotels that offers amenities like in-suite fitness equipment, healthy snacks, and an “energetic fitness center.” In 2012, Las Vegas’s MGM Grand introduced 41 “Stay Well” rooms featuring wellness amenities such as  aromatherapy and air purification systems and access to Cleveland Clinic programs for “sleep, stress, and nutritional therapy.” In 2014, InterContinental Hotels Group launched EVEN Hotels with six locations in Norwalk, Connecticut; Rockville, Maryland; Times Square, Midtown East, and Brooklyn, New York; and Omaha, Nebraska. EVEN Hotels not only boast athletic studios, but also in-room personal training, group classes, and the Cork & Kale™ Market and Bar for healthy snacks. The branding, though aggressively green-washed, is apparently successful: Six more EVEN Hotel properties are slated to open in the next few years.

In 2017, fitness companies flipped the script. Luxury fitness brand Equinox recently announced it will open its first hotel in New York’s Hudson Yards development in 2019 with plans to open a second location in Los Angeles soon after. Equinox operates nearly 80 clubs in nine cities in the United States, with additional locations in Toronto and London, with approximately one million members overall. Although sources wouldn’t disclose which architects worked on initial designs, the revealed rendering shows a massive tower, expected to be home to a 60,000-square-foot “super gym” with indoor and outdoor pools in addition to the hotel.

Equinox isn’t alone. Chicago’s Midtown Athletic Club, a tennis-and-fitness center established in 1970, is adding a 55-room boutique hotel on top of its facilities. Evanston, Chicago–based DMAC Architecture spearheaded the design of the addition and the redesign of the existing structure to create a 575,000-square-foot complex that will have 15 indoor tennis courts; four pools (including one that converts to an ice rink in winter); one full-size basketball court; several studio fitness spaces for yoga, Pilates, boxing, and spinning; locker rooms; retail and dining options; outdoor and lounge recreational spaces; as well as other hotel amenities such as meeting and banquet rooms, deluxe suites, and a penthouse presidential suite. “Rather than being 98 percent hotel with 2 percent amenity, [the Midtown Athletic Club] will be 96 percent amenity and 4 percent hotel,” said Dwayne MacEwen, founder and principal of DMAC architecture. “There are three floors of primary club space, with the third being an all-glass in-between space with the lobby, and the hotel component occupies floors four and five,” he explained. MacEwen emphasized that the prevailing design directive is to create something “intimate and choreographed,” eschewing a “big-box-gym atmosphere.”

Designing for wellness rather than merely fitness or hospitality involves a careful consideration of social and nonsocial areas. MacEwen and his team crafted specific spaces for conversation, like the monumental staircase on the second floor; spaces for solidarity, like the meditation room; and spaces for “being together, alone,” like the lounge. “We didn’t want to over program any one room—when you do that no one hangs out there—but we wanted to create an emotional impact through our use of materials, sense of compression, lighting, and wayfinding,” he said.

This strategy continues through the exterior of the landmarked building: The Midtown Athletic Club is located at a busy intersection in Bucktown, and MacEwen was cognizant of its impact on the neighborhood. “People choose to live in the city for a reason,” he said, “so we wanted to give something back to the urban street experience. It is more like an urban island oasis; you feel like you are a part of the city because you can see the traffic and feel the energy, but there is a solitude and quietness to it as well.” The Midtown Athletic Club hotel and renovation is set to be complete early this summer.

As hotels increase the amount of fitness and wellness offerings on deck, boutique fitness brands also feel obligated to provide key hospitality tenets—most importantly, forging a community with and among their members. Principal Chad Smith of Desbrisay & Smith Architects in New York has been working with boutique fitness brand Barry’s Bootcamp since 2012, both designing its studios and contributing to its branding. It is no coincidence that the tagline on the Desbrisay & Smith Architects website is “causing communities.” “We look at the organization of the space, as well as its touch and feel, and explore how the patrons come together and what happens before and after a workout,” Smith explained. This isn’t just “Kumbaya” feel-good vibes. “Boutique fitness companies want their communities to form a gang, not only because it has material impacts on their health and wellness, but [because] it increases retention so the businesses make more money.”

There is no singular approach when it comes to organizing spaces that make people feel as though their intraclub relationships are springing up organically. When Smith worked on CrossFit company I.C.E.’s New York location, he started by examining where and how clients interacted. “In CrossFit, people hang out and talk to each other in the workout space, so we wanted it to be chic and luxurious, very Manhattan,” he said. “Basically we thought, ‘If you had to pick a classic New York space to work out in, something that’s durable and glamorous, what would you choose?’ The obvious answer is Grand Central Station, so we picked up on its material cues, such as brass and dark blue paint.” But behind these sleek walls and floors, there is a lot going on: sound isolation, floating, spring reinforced acoustic floors, and superinsulated windows and walls.

Not only are these technological elements crucial for spaces like Barry’s Bootcamp, where 25 people run on 25 treadmills simultaneously within a mixed-use building, but they are also needed for when people sit completely still.

Meditation centers—that is, places where people go to sit and experience a guided meditation—are still new to the built wellness environment. When designing the Inscape Meditation Center in Manhattan, Archi-Tectonics founder Winka Dubbeldam spent months focusing on a seamless experience for clients. “It demands a different type of precision,” she explained. “If you meditate in all kinds of positions—walking, sitting, lying down—then you are very aware of yourself and the space around you. A few things became quite apparent. I wanted to create a continuum, an immersive environment: Walls and ceilings become one in the Dome; there is clean purified air; there is perfect sound and lighting. All the senses are soothed.”

Inscape has two meditation rooms: The Dome room is a large ellipse, while the Alcove room is smaller and wrapped in textural cloth. Both rooms feature color therapy lights, a smooth transition between the ceilings and walls, and carefully curated sound. “When we first soundproofed the space, we over-perfected it,” Dubbeldam said. “It was too soundproof! It actually hurt my ears. So we had an acoustics engineer come in and soften it and add a small amount of white noise to achieve a more comfortable silence.” The lighting was designed to avoid any pinpointed spots of light; rooms are equally lit, each with a soft horizon line around the Dome room where distracted meditators can focus their gazes and regain their senses of calm.

To achieve this level of design, Dubbeldam created a full-scale prototype in a warehouse in Brooklyn and meditated in it with Inscape founder Khajak Keledjian, who also founded the clothing boutique Intermix. “I see design as a process, a series of tests to achieve moments of precision,” Dubbeldam said. “It looks super simple, but it takes massive amounts of design and engineering. I really feel like that is where architecture should go, and, in our case, is going.”

Evan Bennett of New York–based Vamos Architects concurs.“Environments are shifting dramatically as technology shifts,” he explained. Bennett recently completed Honeybrains, a concept cafe in New York’s NoHo district that serves up information on brain health alongside healthy food options and a honey-focused retail section. Owned by two siblings—one who worked in neurology—the cafe features circadian lighting by Ketra disguised in a clever ceiling-light baffle. “We were careful not to have direct lighting, but instead created a honeycomb pattern that could reflect light off of the interior paneling,” Bennett said. “It lets us hide the track lighting, the AV system, and a projector up there as well.” Bennett admits that spending 30 to 40 minutes in a circadian-light-controlled system might not have major effects on one’s health, but he believes in Honeybrain’s mission to become a platform for discussing brain health and the possibilities of design that straddles the intersection of health and technology.

Though the wellness trend will play itself out and change over time, people-centric, health-focused design will endure in hospitality architecture. Combined with our current propensity toward mixed-use spaces and advanced technology, building boundaries will continue to blur—not only between hotel and gym, but across industries of all kinds.

Want more on wellness? Read how it's influencing the workplace too.

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Hotelier and architecture patron Andre Balazs steps down as chairman of Standard International

Celebrity hotelier and architectural patron Andre Balazs is not known for doing anything “standard.” That was the irony in the name he chose for the hospitality brand he created 18 years ago, Standard Hotels. This month Balazs stepped down as chairman of the company he founded, Standard International of New York. According to The Financial Times and hotel industry publications, he will maintain a 20 percent stake in the company as well as stakes he holds in individual hotels. Balazs, who heads the privately-held Andre Balazs Properties, could not be reached about the move. But according to The Financial Times and Hotel Management, a publication that follows the hotel industry, Balazs has described his decision to leave Standard’s board of directors as a “friendly parting of ways.” Standard International is currently developing a 270-room hotel in London, and Balazs said in a published statement that he is “no longer involved with the design or any other aspect of the development of the London Standard.” A representative for Standard International said a new chairman has not been named. Standard’s portfolio includes five Standard hotels around the United States, including The Standard Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard; The Standard in downtown Los Angeles; the Standard High Line; The Standard East Village and The Standard Spa in Miami Beach. It also has a separate division called the Bunkhouse Group. Balazs, 60, has drawn acclaim for revolutionizing the concept of affordable hospitality, with irreverent and playful touches such as putting a clear partition between the shower and the sleeping area in guestrooms at the Standard in downtown L.A. He has employed first-rate architects and designers, such as Ennead Architects and Roman and Williams for the Standard High Line. He has worked on residential projects with architects Jean Nouvel, Richard Gluckman, and Calvin Tsao. He was early to see the development potential of the High Line and other areas. According to its website, Andre Balazs Properties portfolio includes the Mercer Hotel in New York City; the Chateau Marmont in California, Chiltern Firehouse in London and Sunset Beach on Shelter Island in New York. Educated at Cornell University and Columbia University, Balazs has also drawn attention for dating celebrities such as Uma Thurman and Chelsea Handler. One project he pursued with Standard but didn’t bring about was a hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport, using Eero Saarinen’s TWA terminal for the common areas. Another developer was subsequently named to lead that venture. What’s next for Balazs? It’s not likely to be standard. Observers say they expect him to stay in the hotel business and turn his attention even more to the luxury sector, as he hinted he might do in a statement published by Hotel Management. “The lack of uniqueness in the luxury sector is lamentable,” he was quoted as saying. “I think we changed the affordable category. I think the luxury market is crying for exactly that.”
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Renzo Piano is designing a 36-story hotel in San Francisco’s Transbay neighborhood

New York City–based Renzo Piano Building Workshop and developer Pacific Eagle have revealed renderings for 555 Howard, a new, mixed-use hotel project slated for San Francisco's Transbay neighborhood. The project, if completed as planned, would become the fourth tallest structure in the city. According to documentation submitted to the city’s Planning Department, the project is slated to contain 69 dwelling units and 255 hotel rooms. Of the 69 dwelling units, 15 percent would be set aside at affordable rates. The rectangular tower, clad in transparent glass and rising to an overall height of 385 feet, would be built on the site of a collection of low-slung masonry buildings dating to the early 1900s. Those structures were analyzed by the Transit Center District Historic Resource Survey in 2012 and were not found to be “Contributory or Significant Buildings” for the neighborhood. Renderings released for the project showcase a glassy, boxy tower that steps back slightly roughly halfway up its height. According to the report, the residential portion of the building would be located between the 20th and 36th levels, with the hotel program sitting below. The 21st floor, where the building steps back, will include an outdoor terrace meant for use by building residents. The structure also features a triple-height ground floor lobby area with what looks like retail uses. The lobby is lifted on slender, pencil-tipped columns similar to those the architect used in the firm’s Modern Wing addition to the Art Institute of Chicago building. The lobby also features a pair of intervening mezzanine levels. The project proposes creating an “under ramp” park spanning one full side of the structure, underneath an adjacent elevated highway onramp. The building’s massing is split at roughly the centerline along that expanse, creating a wide reveal in the facade that, according to the planning documents, is meant to minimize the massing of the structure.
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Midcentury modern bank building in Memphis to become boutique hotel

Historic urban buildings across the country are being converted into boutique hotels, and Memphis, Tennessee, is seeing its own set of downtown makeovers. The latest is the forthcoming hotel at 158 Madison Avenue in the 1962 Leader Federal Savings and Loan building with a new nine-story neighboring addition. Seattle-based Chris Pardo Design: Elemental Architecture is transforming the five-story midcentury modern building into a 70-room hotel and the planned addition would take the room count up to 150. Along with the hotel, Pardo is also designing a ground-floor restaurant, Teller, and a rooftop bar, Errors & Omissions, names that pay homage to the building’s original program. The building will retain its distinctive precast facade. “We will be restoring the entire exterior of the building, adding back the fifth-floor planters, repairing the windows, and adding architectural facade lighting. The building is a real jewel and speaks for itself; we intend to honor its originality,” Chris Pardo said.

Architect: Chris Pardo Design: Elemental Architecture Client: Wessman Holdings Location: Memphis, TN Completion Date: Spring 2018

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A newly remodeled 1920s building adds to Chicago’s growing list of boutique tower hotels

Apparently, Chicago has an insatiable hunger for boutique hotels in vintage Chicago skyscrapers. In 2015, the newly renovated downtown Chicago Athletic Association (CAA) became the go-to hang-out for architects during the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Virgin opened anew hotel in the 1928 Old Dearborn Bank Building; Goettsch Partners has completed the LondonHouse Hotel in the 1923 London Guarantee Building; and the 1928 Chicago Motor Club, the 1929 Carbon and Carbide Building, and the Burnham and Root–designed 1895 Reliance building have been converted into a Hampton Inn, a Hard Rock Hotel, and Kimpton Burnham Hotel, respectively. Now, another “new hotel, old building” is opening outside of this downtown cluster, to much fanfare.

The Robey hotel, named after the historic street name of what is today Damen Avenue, is located at the major intersection of Damen Avenue, North Avenue, and Milwaukee Avenue, an area called Six Points in Wicker Park. Located in a 1929 building officially known as the Northwest Tower, and more locally known as the Coyote Building, the 12-story art deco tower is the tallest building by far in the neighborhood. It is a local icon, and for decades it was the center of an annual arts festival called Around the Coyote. In the more recent past, however, the tower has laid largely empty, often on the verge of bankruptcy.

Over the last three years, the Coyote Building has been transformed with major brickwork repair, all new windows, and a flagpole and Robey flag atop the building’s cupola. Chicago-based Antunovich Associates was the architect of record on the project, with design work by Brussels offices Nicolas Schuybroek Architects and Marc Merckx Interiors. The hotel is being managed by the Mexican hoteliers Grupo Habita.

Along with the hotel, the building includes a hostel called the Hollander, three restaurants, two bars, and a small rooftop pool. The hotel itself has 69 rooms, including rooms in the sharp southeast corner with unblocked views of downtown, three miles away. The rooftop Cabana Club bar and restaurant on the roof also offers panoramic views of the city.

When the Northwest Tower was designed by Perkins, Chatten & Hammond in the 1920s, it was one of the first towers outside of Chicago’s downtown. Since then, it has remained one of the tallest to not be in the city’s center or along the lakefront. Though a handful of slightly shorter transit-oriented developments are popping up in the Robey’s vicinity, it is unlikely that it will lose its status as an icon of the near northwest side.

This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect's Newspaper's coverage of your city and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.

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“Military-inspired” design and decor defines this Texas hotel

The army may seem like an unlikely inspiration for a hotel, but it was the jumping-off point for Cavalry Court, a “military-inspired” 141-room motor court hotel, in College Station, Texas. Designer Rottet Studio chose corrugated metal and vintage brick to form a Spartan palette, while details, such as pool cabanas resembling field tents, complete the kitschy theme. Due to its proximity to Texas A&M University, the hotel features 6,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space to accommodate meetings, weddings, and receptions. Appropriately, guest rooms and suites have been dubbed “barracks” and “officers’ quarters” (but are sans soldier-style bunk beds), and “gourmet Texas cuisine” is served at the Canteen Bar & Grill. “Like the motor courts of yesteryear, Cavalry Court’s aesthetic coupled with Texas A&M cadet history uniquely captures the true essence of College Station, of Texas, and embraces a bit of Americana,” Valencia Group president Doyle Graham Jr. said in a statement.

Cavalry Court is near part of Houston-based developer Midway and Valencia Group’s 60-acre Century Square, a mixed-use development adjacent to the A&M campus. The George, a more upscale boutique hotel, will be located next door.

Cavalry Court 200 Century Court College Station, TX Tel: 844-313-7337 Developer: Valencia Group

This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your area and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.