NEWH - November 2003 - (Page 39)

unique boutiques… the story of watertown by: Anita Degen, IIDA Degen & Degen “Give me fun & funky.” So began our quest to invent a new kind of boutique hotel for Seattle’s University District. One that was different than the hordes of other “different” hotels out there - one that really represented the owner, the guest profile and it’s namesake town. This was no small challenge. Today’s market of boutique hotels is crowded with unique designs, but all too often guests tire of them after one visit. Seen that - done that. How was an architecture/interior design team to invent something with staying power in the market place? It started in programming: taking a team approach the owner, architect and interior designer worked together from the start. The team was challenged to create a hotel that would be boutique but still comfortable for the everyday kind of guest. The owner wanted fun and funky but distinctly not trendy. The result is a sleek and slightly nautical, yet warmly residential hotel. In addition to the specific feeling the client wanted this hotel to invoke, there were several more key requirements; maximize natural light, integrate the architecture and interior design, instill a sense of individuality and ownership for each guest and finally, bring integrity and honesty to the building materials. Clearly no small task. We began by trying to understand the owner/developer; an individualistic entrepreneur. His vision was clear and goals set. Young and active, a sailor and a pilot, he loves Seattle’s water, in fact his house floats on Lake Union. He even loves the rainy weather. The hotel became focused on Seattle’s relationship with water. Tying all of the program requirements together is a very subtle and abstract water concept that explores fluidity, transparency and light as key elements to the architecture and interiors. Throughout the hotel, metaphors of water remind the guests they are in Seattle. Spaces flow physically or visually throughout. Natural light became a driving force in the design process, Seattle is after all, a city known for long, gray winters. It affected the architecture, building orientation, the fenestration and the final colors and materials. Every bathroom has natural light and fresh air. Guests spend most of their waking hours in the bathroom. It has to be refreshing and rejuvenating. So breaking rule number 1 of hotel planning, we located the guest baths on the exterior wall. Every vanity has natural light. Expansive windows and the flooding of natural daylight throughout the public space and guestrooms demanded that all colors and materials chosen work equally well in daylight conditions and under artificial light. A seamless integration of architecture and interiors was sought from the moment the arriving guest sees the hotel from the street to the time the guest turns off the guest room light. Every step described an evolving, yet coordinated design experience. We began by establishing the ideal room layout, which led to the building footprint. The building footprint was manipulated to respond to the site in several ways: the site is at an offset intersection, guest arrival is from only one direction (via a one way street) - even pedestrian habits already exist in its proximity to the nearby universi39

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NEWH - November 2003

NEWH - November 2003
Contents
Letter From the Editor
Hospitality News
On the Road Again... IHM&RS Show
Tips on Specs... Guestroom Lighting
Spotlight on the UK
Spotlight on Greater New York
Random Thoughts... Designing Today’s Boutique
Boutique Chain – Is It an Oxymoron?
Developing Boutique Hotels in Historic Structures
Unique Boutiques... The Story of Watertown
Approaching the Design of a Boutique Hotel
What Sets a Boutique Apart from the Rest?
Simplifying CEU’s
Small Business Advice
Industry Partner Education
Sources & Credits
Bios

NEWH - November 2003

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