Bond NoHo Hotel
how to get a new building approved at Landmarks at the first Public Hearing
The BOND NoHo hotel is a corner lot located at the intersection of the cobble-stoned Bond Street and busy Lafayette Street. The area predates the introduction of the city grid, the complexity of the lot being the root of the hotel design. This rare exception of the Manhattan grid became the originator of the design diagram and ultimately of the building image.
The design strategy was formulated “walking the site." Coming down from Astor Place, we were intrigued by the high visibility of the sign previously erected at the corner, due to the fact that this particular block “kicks” out from the grid, markedly towards the East. The neighborhood presents a complex texture, thus allowing for a truly contemporary building to be inserted. This was understood by the Landmark Commission where the building was approved unanimously in one session.
The new building is conceived on Lafayette, as a taller seven story structure, keeping with the scale of the surrounding buildings. The structure does not present a façade per se on Lafayette, but a thick three dimensional buffer, peeled and sliced to allow for transparency as well as privacy. The screen is made out of corrugated steel, perforated with varying density and is sympathetic to the manufacturing nature of the area. On the Bond Street side, a smaller “textured” masonry structure, is in scale with the federal house surrounding.
After the building was designed, we uncovered a historical photo of the site that shows on Lafayette a façade with similar geometry; since designing is an intuitive act, it is not unusual to recognize the “precedent” after the project is delineated. To accentuate the “crease” between the two “structures”, small outlooks were inserted. A narrow slot similar to the alleys nearby, is left between the new building and the lot on the North, allowing for additional light and air and a glimpse of the interior court. The repetition of the window wall stock components, assembled with a sense of unpredictability and rational randomness, create a customized effect and recalls the laciness of the cast iron buildings.
The hotel lives in symbiosis with a granite and cast glass sidewalk, which illuminates the underground pool.The modernist promise of integration of art and architecture informs the design of the public spaces, the room’s interior is not a “home away from home”, rather it draws its imagery from the free flowing spaces of early modernism.
The interior spaces are spacious, light, airy, sparse and unexpected. They allow the traveler to dip temporarily into authentic loft living, serving as a “microloft” with all the amenities of the ”live-work” life. The aesthetic fantasy of the glass house promise is fulfilled in the hotel environment, since here, truly minimalist conditions can exist due to the fact that the occupants travel with minimal belongings and to the ever-present service. The result is a 50 room hotel with an iconic and marked identity that highlights the NoHo lifestyle brand and a hospitality philosophy.