**Become a member of The Art Deco Society of New York at www.artdeco.org. With over 25 events per year, ADSNY is an active cultural and social non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating architecture, decorative arts, fashion, and music from the 1920s and 30s! I look forward to seeing you at the next event!**

23 May 2011

Luxury Hotel Conversions

This week's post is inspired by a recent article in the New York Times about the sale of the MetLife Insurance Tower to Tommy Hilfiger. It got me thinking about what a (mostly) great adaptive alternative it is to outfit former structures as hotels compared to new luxury hotel construction (see Donald Trump article in "Articles of Interest").

As the article outlines, Hilfiger purchased the property from Africa Israel USA Group for $170 million with plans to turn it into a luxury-concept hotel like those created by Ian Schrager, Andre Balazs, and David Rockwell. Although the market might be inundated with hotel rooms, the process of a hotel conversion could prove to be advantageous to the historic property in the long run rather than leaving it lie lame. Factors such as daily maintenance of the interior and exterior of the building, preservation of the interior decorative finishes, and increasing overall exposure of the property to the public might very well be the answer to its survival as a National Historic Landmark.

I've highlighted two well-known hotel conversions in landmarked buildings around New York City, though the list could go on and on. It makes me glad to think these beautiful structures are still being enjoyed by New Yorkers and tourists alike, albeit not in their original form. Then again, this blog embraces adaptive reuse as a successful form of historic preservation.

Bryant Park Hotel:
Known as the American Radiator Building, the Bryant Park Hotel is situated inside the 23 story structure built in 1923 that once housed the headquarters of American Radiator and Standard Sanitary Company. Designed by one of the company's employees, Raymond Hood (who designed the company's radiators among other things), the building speaks to the golden age of Art Deco. Its gilded terra-cotta ornaments, bronze plating, black granite, and black brick exude radiance and luxury. Landmarked in 1974, the building now houses 128 hotel rooms dreamed up by Brian McNally and architect, David Chipperfield, in 2001. It is frequented mostly by fashion's elite, especially during fashion week in Bryant Park. For more information click here: www.bryantparkhotel.com

W Hotel-Union Square:
David Rockwell created the interiors of the 270 room W Hotel with attention to light, nature, and craftsmanship. Formerly the Guardian Life Building, this beaux-art structure was completed in 1911 and to this day retains a monumentality which anchors the northeast corner of Union Square. The mansard roof connects it to French architecture, especially the Second Empire style. The W Hotel chain is known for its hip restaurants and, as expected, the Union Square location boasts Todd English's Olives restaurant and bar not only for tourists, but the young after work crowd and trendy Parsons students. For the W Hotel website, click here: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels

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