HOTEL SORELLA
Thursday 16 Sep 2010

 

Hotel Sorella is the “jewel” of CITYCENTRE, a pedestrian-oriented mixed-use development that replaces an obsolete Houston shopping mall. The 244-key hotel is situated at the intersection of pedestrian paths and vistas and serves as the backdrop to a new urban park, providing a destination and hub of activity for residents and visitors. The hotel opened in 2009 in the midst of the economic crisis and has still managed to be huge success.

Challenges included crafting a hotel that has visual and massing variety and embraces urban spaces at the heart of a new community. The design concept of shearing a typical hotel slab was employed to create an offset tower producing more corner rooms, reducing apparent tower massing size and providing daylight penetration and views from the guestroom corridors, all without sacrificing floor area efficiency.

A double-height passage containing a faceted glass entry lobby reinforces the urbanism of the development and maintains visual and physical porosity at the ground level. An arrival sequence via a grand stair leads to the hotel’s reception and public spaces on the second floor. By lifting the front desk and public spaces, space is freed up for three restaurants and activity is showcased through floor-to-ceiling windows facing the adjacent plaza.

Flooded with natural daylight, the lobby’s open plan features a variety of intimate gathering areas for breakfast and throughout the evening, with ample open lounge seating and “box” rooms framing smaller conversation nooks. Guests seeking more formal collaboration space may choose one of the glass-walled conference rooms off of the lobby with uncharacteristic balconies and views.

The second-floor Monnalisa Bar comes alive at night, drawing in guests with a dramatic central fireplace and clusters of pendant lights. A wall of doors swivels open to create a unique indoor/outdoor experience. Guests can venture outside to enjoy the ambience of the pool or the spectacular views of the dynamic plaza below.

To meet sustainable design goals, the hotel features a rough face brick size masonry that is recycled from factory-discarded 1’x2’ masonry units, high-performance insulated low-E glazing, cool roofing, low-VOC adhesives, paints, and sealants and no new parking. The design team successfully delivered a four-star hotel look and feel within a strict three-star budget and its success is testament to carefully calibrated architectural and urban strategies.

Gensler

www.gensler.com

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