The Spectator is a boutique hotel that we are working on at LS3P. It is currently under construction and slated for completion for the end of May 2015. I have been fortunate to serve as the project architect for this hotel. I say fortunate because it has been an awesome project to be a part of and I am super excited for this hotel to open. There is a saying that in architecture there are no great projects, just great clients. And that is certainly true for this project. Our clients came to us with extremely high goals and aspirations for making The Spectator the best hotel in Charleston. They have been a pleasure to work with and have been very supportive and trusting with the design team.
The role of project architect can mean many things. For The Spectator, my project architect responsibilities focused on managing the design and delivery of the design drawings. I had a heavy hand in the building design including the overall building layout, the exterior design and guest room design.
But enough about me. Let's check out The Spectator. The Spectator is a 41 room boutique hotel that will be the sister property to the French Quarter Inn. It is located in the heart of historic Charleston, one block from the City Market.
The Exterior Design:
The hotel is located in the French Quarter district of Charleston. We took some design cues from the historic architecture, but added a modern twist. At LS3P we use Revit to model and render our projects. We use photoshop to insert the buildings into their context and add entourage: trees, people and whatnot.
Just like New Orleans, Charleston's French Quarter district is characterized by balconies with wrought-iron railings. It was important to us that The Spectator reflected the neighborhood. For this rendering, we used a watercolor filter in Adobe Photoshop.
Imagine that the building has been sliced in half. The area that is highlighted in white represents the sliced area. An architecture term for that white area is 'poche.' The beauty of this type of drawing is that it helps illustrate the relationships of the different parts of the building. For example it shows how the building interacts with the sidewalk, more so than the previous rendering. And it shows what you will see through the windows.
A majority of the building skin is brick with cast stone at the base. We selected a brick that is actually a mix of two different colors that creates a nice modeled effect. Cast stone is a cement product that emulates the appearance of limestone. It is very durable and can be cast into an infinite amount of shapes. That green material is zinc metal panels. Zinc is an awesome material. It is very durable and is a non-ferrous metal. Non-ferrous means that it has a very low iron content and more importantly it is corrosion-resistant. The balcony railings are wrought iron and draw some inspiration to the surrounding French Quarter neighborhood. There is a very cool story about the railing design in the video clip at the end of this blog. Make sure to check it out.
This one is cut through the main entrance. This part of town is very susceptible to flooding. In order to mitigate the flood risk, we set the ground floor elevation 18" above the existing grade at the front door. This was no easy task. In order to achieve easy access to the entrance we actually raised the level of the sidewalk, added steps down to the curb and incorporated an ADA accessible ramp. We made the slope of the ramp 1:20 which alleviated the need for hand rails.
That big canopy over the door is a complex animal. Managing how we drain water off of the canopy and incorporate lighting has been a fun challenge. It will be a major feature of the entrance experience so it needs to be perfect. Isn't there some saying about first impressions?
The Interior Design:
The elevator is to the left. The wall in the back will be antique mirror. Getting a realistic image of antique mirror in a computer rendering proved to be a challenge. That chandelier over the front door is enormous and is going to be stunning.
The interiors for the project were designed by Jenny Keenan of Jenny Keenan Interior Design. Jenny has added a very sophisticated look for the interiors. In the background are two check-in kiosks. Rather than the mega-desk and dug-out style check-in that is common of most hotels, we wanted something more minimal and casual. We thought this would create a more welcoming and comfortable arrival experience.
This is one of the earlier conceptual renderings for a standard King Room. Many things have been tweaked since this drawing, but it shows the basic concept. This is another section perspective.
This is a more current rendering of the king bedroom. One of the cool things about The Spectator will be the furniture. There is about 10 different groupings of furniture that will be used. This means that if you return to The Spectator for a second visit, the look of your guest room could be totally different. This is not typical of hotels. Usually a hotel will use the same furniture in each room due to economy.
In high-end hotel design, the bathroom is king. It can be one of the most important features that will distinguish your hotel. Because of its importance, the bathroom design is one of the first thing that gets vetted by the design team and owners. Key features of The Spectator bathrooms are the large double vanities, jumbo glass showers, and extensive use of white carrara marble. There are also some neat little features: electric towel warmers, makeup mirrors and lots of cool light fixtures. There are a handful of guestrooms that include bath tubs in addition to the showers. Eliminating bath tubs and using larger showers is a trend in hotel design right now. Bath tubs are a space-hog and don't get used.
What's in a name?
Oh yeah. The name Spectator. Where did that come from? This awesome little video says it all:
Want to stay at The Spectator? You can book a room today: