It’s an architectural movement that’s gaining momentum – especially as consumer preferences realign and point even more strongly to experiences. For hotels, that means locations in city centers. It also means fighting for real estate that usually already has a building on the property.
It’s an architectural movement that’s gaining momentum – especially as consumer preferences realign and point even more strongly to experiences. For hotels, that means locations in city centers. It also means fighting for real estate that usually already has a building on the property. Hoteliers, along with many other industries, are discovering the transformative benefits of adaptive reuse. It requires a change in the use of tense. Hoteliers now often talk about what their properties used to be. Here are a few examples.
What a difference a century makes
Not all adaptive reuse is an example of old-into-new, but if there was one to spotlight, it would be the Beekman Hotel in New York City. The hotel, which has only been open since 2016, was constructed in 1883. This is adaptive reuse at its grandest level.
Guests feel as if they’ve been transported back to the golden age of travel. The crowning glory of this restoration is the nine-story hotel atrium, which is capped by a unique pyramidal skylight. But while the Victorian world abounds, the hotel offers state of the art amenities like Chromecast compatible flat screen TVs in every room.
The past offers new possibilities
Across the country, shuttered warehouses are finding new life as co-working spaces for small businesses. Sleeping office buildings are being reawakened as open-concept restaurants. And buildings of all kinds are finding second lives as hotels.
The most striking thing about these transformations is that they’re not complete – at least in the sense that you would never recognize the old from the new. And that’s at the heart of adaptive reuse. It pays homage to the structure’s past. We want to capture the experience. Retaining the building’s aesthetics helps us, and our hosts live vicariously.
Often, it’s about capturing a moment of history. The Hotel Emma in San Antonio, for example, was originally a brewery established in 1881. Ultimately, it was the only brewery in San Antonio to survive Prohibition.
A collection of five warehouse buildings in Louisville, Kentucky has been recreated as a contemporary art museum and boutique hotel. Guests of the 21c Museum Hotel now sleep and dine where bourbon and tobacco leaves were once stored.
It’s a celebration of Beaux Arts architecture, reimagined from the shuttered headquarters of the national dime-store chain of S. H. Kress & Co. The Ritz-Carlton chain has claimed this historic building in downtown New Orleans and transformed it into a delightful 527-room property.
What do you do with an old newspaper plant? The Press Hotel in Maine took the offices and printing plant of the Portland Press Herald and converted the 1923 brick-and-stone structure into a hotel. People who used to work in this industry are fond of saying that “the ink gets in your veins.” Here, the original purpose of the building plays deeply through the hotel’s overall design – to the point that the hallways are decorated with wallpaper citing real headlines from past issues of the Portland newspaper. Elsewhere, there’s an art installation of vintage typewriters titled “SWARM,” depicting the chaos of an old-fashioned newsroom.
Fire stations, churches, textile factories, banks, movie theaters – an amazing array of structures are being claimed by the hotel industry and re-envisioned for guests. It puts visitors exactly where they want to be: at the intersection of location and experience. Thanks to adaptive reuse, the past has become the future of hospitality.
Discover how we can help you capture the essence of a structure’s aesthetics for your future renovation plans.