A few blocks south of City Hall in Manhattan is 5 Beekman—one of New York City’s most intriguing historic landmarks. Behind the building’s brick facade is an ornate, nine-story, glass-pyramid-topped atrium that has been off limits for more than a decade. The Architect's Newspaper took a behind-the-scenes tour of the building with the architect who is bringing it back to life as a boutique hotel. https://vimeo.com/125948595 The Queen Anne–style structure, originally known as Temple Court, was designed by Silliman & Farnsworth and opened as an office building in the late 19th Century. It was one of New York's first tall fireproof buildings and a vanguard of early skyscraper design. But after Temple Court's last tenant left in 2001, the building sat vacant—save for some magazine, film, and TV shoots—for more than a decade. In 2013, GFI Capital and GB Lodging started turning Temple Court—and its adjacent annex building—into a 287-room boutique hotel that will be known as The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel. It will be joined by the adjacent Beekman Residences, a 68-unit condominium tower. New York–based Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel Architects (GKV) is leading the design of both projects. The hotel is slated to open near the end of the year and the residences should follow in the first quarter of 2016. Before either project opens its doors, Randy Gerner of GKV gave AN an exclusive look inside.
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JetBlue Airlines—the one with free snacks and live television—is interested in getting into the hotel business, and it wants to kick things off with Eero Saarinen's swooping TWA Terminal at JFK Airport. The Wall Street Journal reported that JetBlue and New York–based hotelier MCR Development are in "advanced negotiations" with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey for the rights to turn the swooping structure into a modern hotel. While things seem promising, similar attempts have failed. In 2013, hotelier André Balazs won the rights for a terminal-to-hotel conversion, but ultimately decided not to move forward with the project because of how long it would take to complete—he's a busy guy and said he had more interesting things to pursue. After that episode, the bidding process was relaunched and JetBlue and MCR came out on top. If this new plan doesn't meet the same fate, the two companies plan to fill the terminal with 500 rooms, many of which will be occupied by frustrated fliers whose flights were cancelled and need a convenient place to stay before they catch the next flight at the crack of dawn. Honestly, having to spend a night in Saarinen's masterpiece wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
Deafening Silence: Morphosis designs a skyscraper in the Alps next to Peter Zumthor’s famous Therme Vals spa
Can a 1,250-foot-tall skyscraper qualify as "a minimalist object” under any circumstances? It depends on who you ask—particularly if the building in question, the 7132 Tower hotel designed by Los Angeles–based architecture firm Morphosis for a site in Vals, Switzerland, would go up next to Peter Zumthor’s understated Therme Vals spa. Morphosis’ Thom Mayne said yes, calling the slender, reflective high-rise “a minimalist act that reiterates the site and offers to the viewer a mirrored, refracted perspective of the landscape.” The project’s critics, meanwhile, accuse Morphosis and client 7132 Limited of disrespecting the hotel’s surroundings, both natural and built. Zumthor, who completed the quartzite-walled Therme Vals spa in 1996, appears to be taking the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” approach. BD Online quoted a firm spokesperson as saying, “He doesn’t want to comment on this hotel.” The tower—which would top Renzo Piano’s Shard by over 200 feet to become the tallest in the European Union—is still a long way from being built, requiring planning permission and a public vote prior to construction. Among the marks against it are the manner by which Morphosis received the commission. What began as a competition ended in February with a unilateral decision by 7132 Limited to narrow the three-firm shortlist down to one, over the jury’s objection. On the plus side, Mayne’s concept has garnered a vote of confidence from Tadao Ando, whose nearby Valser Path park is expected to be finished by 2017. “I believe it will harmonize in the beautiful landscape and will attract and impress various guests and visitors from all over the world,” said Ando.
One of hospitality’s hottest hideaways is located—where else—on barren desert land solely accessible via a treacherously winding road. Booked to nearly full capacity for the first two years of operation, the Amangiri resort is nestled in a desert region called the “Four Corners,” where the borders of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona converge. The resort was crafted by architects and designers Wendell Burnette, Marwan Al-Sayed, and Rick Joy, and guest rooms overlook a sea of sand billows, presenting unhindered views of the Stud Horse Point of the Glen Canyon to the majestic Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. A bird’s-eye-view of the estate hints at an unimpressive, boxy encampment, but staying in this luxury enclave will set you back $1,100 a night for a desert-view suite and $3,600 for the Amangiri Suite. Designed to blend into the surrounding monoliths, the building features natural materials and textures, with a concrete facade subtly tinted pink, ocher, and light yellow to soften the building’s profile. The pavilion and main pool (which is heated to more than 80 degrees at all times) are configured around a dramatic stone escarpment which is more than 150 million years old. Adjacent to it is a communal great room with four fireplace niches, which serves as a reception area, dining room, gallery, library, and living room—as well as an optimal vantage point for drinking in the sunset. Two accommodation wings stem from the pavilion—the Desert Wing contains 16 suites, with 18 suites and the Aman Spa located in the Mesa Wing. In designing the building the architects deferred to the geometry of the looming cliffs, often slanting walls towards each other to provide slot canon views of the desert and mesa. Desert-dwelling pastimes touted by the resort include hot air ballooning, helicopter rides, equestrian excursions, hikes, and day trips to Lake Powell. The luxury resort is the brainchild of Singapore-based company Aman Resorts, which specializes in developing small, exclusive properties in locations that stray from the beaten path. [h/t Fubiz.]
In August the London creative club Soho House set up shop in Chicago, carving out a chic space for itself amid the city's hotel, dining and cocktail scenes by retrofitting an industrial building in the Fulton Market District. Designers touted the balance of “grit and glamor” in the new Soho House at the time, beckoning self-identifying creative types to the former belting factory at 113-125 North Green Street. With the launch of its first annual “art week” in January, Soho House announced itself as somewhat of a gallery, as well, unveiling a site-specific installation by Damien Hirst. Hirst, the wildly successful London artist and development dabbler, created for Soho House Chicago a “painting” made of butterflies, mounted behind frosted glass that outlines the word “CHICAGO”. It hangs 15 feet or so above the heads of guests sipping cocktails or checking into Soho House's hotel. Hirst's previous work with butterflies—famously letting them live their lives inside an art gallery—has garnered international attention, as well as a fair share of criticism from animal rights advocates. Museum of Contemporary Art Associate Curator Julie Rodriguez Widholm welcomed the piece, noting that Soho House and MCA shared an appetite for modern and contemporary art, having both previously shown work by artists like Rashid Johnson and Angel Otero.
This week an already roiling real estate market in Chicago's West Loop got hotter still. The latest entrant is a $400 million mixed-use tower designed by Goettsch Partners—a 350-room, four-star hotel beneath about 600,000 square feet of offices that will surely stoke the continued evolution of the area from post-industrial grittiness into a sleek, high-rent hub for technology companies and haute cuisine. Crain's Chicago Business reported Florida-based developer Joseph Mizrachi will further thicken an already competitive field of downtown office space, building on his 2012 acquisition of a 1.1 million-square-foot office tower at 540 West Madison Street. His group, Third Millennium Partners, hopes to start work by mid-2015 on a 1.2 million-square-foot building just to the west, at 590 West Madison Street. Goettsch Partners' design is restrained, concealing its luxury hotel rooms and undoubtedly high-tech offices in tranquil planes of glass, scored with white mullions that stripe the building's bifurcated mass vertically.
As for the crowded market, Crain's says Mizrachi enjoys an advantage over the competition:
Because the foundation already was poured for the new building years ago when a second office tower was planned, the new tower can be built in as little as 20 months, giving Mizrachi's plan an advantage over some competitors, [J.F. McKinney & Associates Executive Vice President Mark] Gunderson said. Work could begin with as little as 200,000 square feet of office space leased in advance, he said.It also might compete by offering office rents slightly lower than its neighbors, which include 52 and 53 story towers from developers Hines Interests and John O'Donnell.
Winter months in the Benelux countries are not known for blue skies and bright sun. So perhaps there's an altruistic underpinning to the design of the new 59-room Pantone Hotel in Brussels. Did architect Olivier Hannaert and interior designer Michel Pennemann seek to lift the seasonally-depressed spirits of the populace through the colorful palette? We'd like to think so, although the relentless branding campaign by the client raises a smidgen of doubt. To wit: The Pantone roller bag won't get lost in the sea of black Tumi bags on the luggage carousel. Trundle down the hall, and find your color-coded room: Key fobs graphically remind you where you are—if that's necessary: Once inside, the bed linens resemble a color chip; the walls, even more so: Room service! Maybe a spot of tea will help you feel at home: Expecting visitors? Invite them to pull up a chair: Unpacked, it's time to go explore the city. What better means of transportation—conveniently available through the front desk—could there possibly be, to best appreciate the local architecture than a two-wheeled color swatch? And in case you've forgotten a toiletry essential, never fear—Pantone is here (and increasingly everywhere).
[ Editor's Note: The following comment was left on archpaper.com in response to our Unveiled on the Gensler-designed Alessandra Hotel in Houston (AN 03_04.30.2014_SW). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ] “Glass ceilings permit guests in the lobby to see through to the top floor restaurant.” That lobby will become the biggest gentlemen’s club in Houston. Bill Wood Rangeview High School
Mexico City's posh Polanco neighborhood is now home to the recently redesigned Living Rooms of the W Mexico City. Part of a larger $100 million campaign to update its hotels across North America, the W asked New York City–based nemaworkshop, a firm that has been known to—quite literally—turn design on its head, to bring a sense of mystery and illusion to the hotel's common spaces. Guests are greeted by a translucent and inverted glass pyramid as soon as they enter the lobby, which holds secret messages that can only be seen at night. Surrounding the pyramid, a ring of seats take the form of eerie masks when seen from the rear. In a VIP lounge nearby, colorful laser-cut screens provide privacy while maintaining a connection with the larger space and surrounding neighborhood through an expansive glass facade. At the central bar, guests can look up to a ceiling of shifting waves generated by the reflective surfaces covering the ceiling, meant to give the illusion that one is in the midst a sea of moving water. Elsewhere, an unexpected tequila bar is set inside a dimly-lit bathroom. Reflective surfaces are paired with natural stones, rippling metals, and sleek geometric walls and carpets to create a series of visual effects throughout the new space. The lobby, which had not been updated since 2001, is now filled with colorful artwork and puzzling arrangements that pay homage to Mexico City’s rich history and create a series of illusions for visitors. Nemaworkshop is also working on updating the hotel's guestrooms, which will be revealed later.
Chinese real estate developers Wanda Commercial Properties announced Wednesday plans to build an 89-story mixed-use tower in Chicago’s Lakeshore East neighborhood that would unseat Aon Center as the city’s third tallest building. At approximately 1,150 feet tall, the tower at 375 E. Wacker Dr. would be among the tallest buildings in Chicago. AN reached out to Alderman Brendan Reilly’s office to confirm the announcement, which was reported in the Wall Street Journal and Chicago Architecture Blog Tuesday, but so far our calls have not been returned. A spokesman for Lakeshore East developer Magellan Properties declined to comment. Chinese news agency Sina reported the building will house a five-star hotel and apartments, and is expected to open in 2018. Along with a retail component, that should total 1.4 million square feet of space, according to Chicago Architecture Blog. The designer is still unspecified, but a rendering from Wanda Group shows three staggered volumes constructed from stacked frustums, or cut-off pyramid shapes. If built, it would occupy the lot adjacent to the new GEMS World Academy building, designed by bKL Architecture. The Beijing-based company, commonly called Wanda Group, is known in the U.S. for buying cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings, and has amassed dozens of hotels and department stores in China. The $900 million Chicago project would be the first step in what Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin said will be a big move into U.S. real estate. "Investing in Chicago property is just Wanda's first move into the U.S. real estate market," Jianlin said in a statement, "Within a year, Wanda will invest in more five-star hotel projects in major U.S. cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. By 2020, Wanda will have Wanda branded five-star hotels in 12–15 major world cities and build an internationally influential Chinese luxury hotel brand." We’ll update this post as more information becomes available.
Construction has started on two towers set to rise in the BAM Cultural District in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Unlike most new projects in the area, one of the buildings to rise off Flatbush Avenue, a 32-story structure designed by Brooklyn-based architect Thomas Leeser, will not be luxury apartments, but a 200-room boutique hotel run by Marriot. The tower is one of the most architecturally distinct high-rises to arrive in Brooklyn in quite some time, with prominent, asymmetrical carve-outs along its glass facade that make it appear as if someone—or something—has slashed through its skin with a knife. The hotel includes a performance space in the basement, a bar on the roof, and a restaurant at ground level that overlooks a new public plaza. The hotel is sited between the H3 Hardy-designed Theatre for a New Audience, which opened last year, and a mixed-use, 27,000-square-foot project designed by Dattner and SCAPE. Nearby on the corner of Flatbush and Lafayette avenues, Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos is building another 32-story tower on a wedge-shaped lot. According to AN's earlier reporting, that tower "includes approximately 50,000-square-feet of creative and cultural space that will be shared by BAM, 651 ARTS, and the Brooklyn Public Library. In addition, the tower will include approximately 23,000-square-feet of ground-level retail, as well as approximately 300 to 400 apartments, 20 percent of which will be affordable." Adjacent to the tower is a 16,000-square-foot plaza.
It is only fitting that a crowdfunded hotel slated for New York City has a crowdsourced design as well. For its new, extended-stay hotel at 17 John Street, developer Prodigy Network, along with design blog PSFK, launched the Prodigy Design Lab, which allowed designers from around the world to submit plans for the project's interior spaces and digital services. After 70 submissions were received and 10,000 votes cast, three winners have been announced. "The winners of the 17John competition were intuitive to the needs of travelers, creative in the interactive spaces and understood the function of extended stay residences,” Rodrigo Nino, the founder and CEO of Prodigy Network, said in a statement. “This will be one of many design competitions presented to the crowd and we look forward to empowering those with the greatest ideas.” These three plans, which were selected by a jury from the ten finalists, represent three categories: private space, communal space, and digital experience. The winning private space design, "Weco, The Nomad Company" by Vianney Lacotte creates a live-work environment with space for entertaining and storage. For public space, "Hub" creates a wood-paneled reception area, fitness center, rooftop terrace, and communal workspace that looks like just about any startup company. And the "Deeply Integrated Services for the New Type of Hotel" proposal is an app meant to to better connect a guest with the hotel. Playing up the project's cooperative nature, the developer described this project as the "World’s First Cotel,” which is designed to “to meet the changing needs of the modern business traveler and through its innovative design will foster wellness, connectivity and efficiency.” The $31 million Cotel will transform an existing 1920’s apartment building with a multi-story glass addition designed by Winka Dubbeldam. According to Prodigy's website, "accredited investors can purchase REPs (Real Estate Participation) in 17John and buy into the project’s operating returns and equity appreciation. The REPs are being sold at $50,000 each." The project is expected to open in 2017. Take a look at the winning designs below.