The architects converted a five-story 1950’s apartment building, located on a commercial street lined with retail stores and office buildings, into a thirty-six room boutique hotel, with new services and amenities such as a swimming pool, gym, sauna, bar, and restaurant.
The old structure achieved a new identity because of its new wrapper, a frosted glass envelope composed of rectangular glass panels, which exists beyond the original facade. This “air buffer” not only controls heat gains, eliminating the need for heating and cooling systems, it also serves as an acoustical device and mediates the view while providing privacy. Sandwiched between the new and old facades are the original balconies and new corridors.
From a distance the new facade appears to be an expressionless mask but, at closer range, as a play of shadows appears, the shadowed walkways, balconies and guests become visible.
Small transparent bands are the new facade’s only adornment. These strategically small apertures provide each room choreographed views of the city beyond, framing the desirable and screening out the unsightly.
The rooms themselves look out onto two planes of floor-to-ceiling glass, the inner is transparent, the outermost, opaque. These planes are imbued with natural light all day and provide complete privacy. The decor of the rooms follow the austerity of the outer enclosure, as only a bed and a cantilevered plane of glass, which serves as both desk and table, occupy the space, everything else is concealed behind a polished panelled wall. This minimalist aesthetic enlarges the experience of the otherwise compact rooms.
The hotel has become a popular destination in the city and has transformed its surrounding area. The roof top pool, terrace, bar and lounge provide a public gathering space, and offer recovered views of the city.
At night, the entire building is transformed into a lantern with a changing checkerboard pattern of illumination, controlled by the room occupants.