‘Dream Downtown Hotel’ by Handel Architects of New York
Built on a site of significant architectural interest, the ‘Dream Downtown Hotel’ is a magnificent example of modern hotel architecture. This super stylish ‘boutique hotel’ is in the fashionable Chelsea region of New York and was a major redevelopment project by Handel Architects in 2006. The central theme that enlivens the ‘Dream Downtown Hotel’s exterior and interior design is a futuristic abstract interpretation of bubbling water. The associations with the sea and water relate directly to the building’s fascinating history.
The intriguing style of the hotel has links to the 1960’s and also important maritime associations. The new architecture was largely influenced by the original construction and the adjoining ‘Maritime Hotel’, which to cut a long story short, was designed by leading architect Albert C Ledner for the National Maritime Union. Later the buildings were sold and their functions changed.
The ultra contemporary façade has considerable stylistic similarities with the older ‘Maritime Hotel’ and Ledner’s pioneering design. However, this is not an exercise based on nostalgia. The modern hotel architecture is similar in form but a definite leap forward in concept. The whole building is a shiny celebration of metal as a creative construction material. Clad all the way around in reflective stainless steel, Ledner’s original design has been respected but updated.
On the 17th Street façade, polished stainless steel tiles replace the original mosaic tiles of the old Union building. Ledner’s original building had distinctive round porthole windows. This link to the sea and water has been kept in the redevelopment. More small portholes have been added but in an asymmetric manner to add energy to the once rigid facade. The lively composition of circles now has even closer links to the concept of moving water and bubbles.