NEWH - November 2004 - (Page 34)

embracing adaptive re-use projects Adaptive re-use projects are very exciting. They present unique design challenges that require design professionals to be more creative than usual. You can’t just dive right in. You have to do some research on the building, and must account for the additional fees you will spend during the design and construction process. Don’t shy away from the opportunity. Embrace it! The final efforts will be well worth it. But you must remember you still have to play by the rules. Getting Started Taking a building that started its life serving one purpose and converting it into a hotel presents quite a challenge. Most developers generally get a set of prototypical plans from a few major franchises when considering a new project. The problem with these prototypes is that they are designed for the ideal, perfect site—a site that is completely flat, with plenty of parking, in the middle of suburbia-nowhere, surrounded by nothing. Rooms and spaces were designed to meet size and layout requirements defined by the corporate office. As you are aware, your adaptive re-use building does not fit this mold. Doing Your Homework Chances are high that the existing building is in an area previously zoned for a specific user group other than a hotel (typically R-1). You will first need to check with the governing agency responsible to find out if it will permit hotel use in that zoning area. It has been our experience that planning agencies are especially interested in finding another use for a vacant building. Blighted, vacant buildings are large eyesores for municipalities. Also, don’t forget to check the parking requirements in the zoning area. New parking requirements with a zone use change can cause difficulties. 34 Photo courtesy of Cheryl Rowley Design, Hotel Monaco Washington, DC By George Snode, AIA, ASID – Pahl – Pahl – Pahl Previous Building Use Find out if there are any drawings, especially structural drawings, available for the building. These can tell you a lot about what is feasible in the proposed hotel. Which columns are structural, which are not? One of the most frequent hotel conversion project types we have encountered is office buildings. The structural bay spacing for an office building is different from the desired structural layout of a hotel. This is where the creative process really becomes essential. How can you fit the programmatic requirements of a hotel room into a floor plate that isn’t ideally suited to the usual structural grid for a hotel? Typically, office buildings are more square in their layout than hotels. Hotels are more rectangular. For one of our current projects, the inner area of the floor plate is being utilized for meeting rooms and hotel support functions. Franchise Standards Asking the owner early in the design process what the hotel “flag” will be is imperative. Each of the major hotel chains have well-defined design and construction standards with which they expect their franchisees to comply. By knowing the franchise’s expectations up front, you will be better prepared to handle your unique building. Watch Those Proportions! Ceilings in older office buildings tend to be higher than in hotel rooms. We have found it necessary to lower ceiling heights in guestrooms to prevent the “tunnel feeling” created from the original ceiling heights of 10 or 12 feet. The increased space above the ceiling in the corridors and public areas will make the mechanical and plumbing engineers very happy. It gives them PLENTY of space to run ductwork, pipes, etc. Type of Construction Typically, office buildings in urban centers are constructed at a higher construction classification than suburban hotels. The existing construction classification will govern in your adaptive reuse project. This could mean creating higher construction ratings for shafts, stairwells, etc. than you would normally use in a suburban hotel. Additionally, many buildings that are candidates for adaptive re-use are located in downtown, urban areas. Because of the building’s proximity to neighboring buildings and property lines, extra fire protection measures may need to be taken. Additional sprinkler heads at windows and other openings will definitely have a design impact on the guestrooms and/or public area details. Program Requirements Everything has got to fit into the box. Many franchises have signature features loyal guests expect. You must provide them. Study the program requirements closely, paying particular attention to proximities and affinities. The designer needs to think of guests’ comfort first and foremost. The existing building’s structure and geometry may create less than ideal situations for the hotel staff. They may have to navigate longer corridors or adjust to back of house spaces that are located on different levels.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NEWH - November 2004

NEWH - November 2004
Letter From the President
Outgoing Editor
Hospitality News
Maintaining a Sense of Place...
Design-Related Resources Shine Brightly at 2004 IH/M&RS
Beds in Banks
The Fullerton Singapore Hotel
Woman of the Year - Lyndall De Marco
The Glasshouse Hotel, Edinburgh Scotland
What’s in a Brand Name
What You Need to Maximize Publicity
Coming Events
Chapter News and Events
Embrace Adaptive Re-Use Projects
NEWH UK Supports Serious Fun at Barretstown
IH/M&RS Gold Key Awards

NEWH - November 2004