QUEENS, NEW YORK — The hotel renovated by Grzywinski+Pons was a blank slate in that no one had touched the building previously. You could call it a placeholder building; the structure itself was complete but zoning in the neighborhood was changing and so the owner wanted to defer a plan for what to do with it.
So even though their work on the Boro Hotel is technically a renovation, the New York studio really stepped in to finish the last half of the development. At first glance we’d assume that the hotel was a former industrial building, retaining some of its former character in a new context, but that’s not the case. There was no “before” for this hotel. It’s a fabricated mode.
The studio said the 108-room hotel is in the Dutch Kills neighborhood in Queens. The project was treated as a found object. The mood is a combination of industrial urbanity and cheer.
In both the public spaces and the guest rooms we embraced the rawness of the project’s bones: principally cast in place concrete and cinder block. Upon this mantle we layered our palette of materials while extolling the virtues of the site and frame — light, soaring ceilings and unrivaled views of Manhattan. We were very conscious of using finishes that would yield a warm and happy environment even while acquiring a rich patina through time and use: hand scraped oak floors, painted pallet wood wainscoting and soffits, leather, cork and sisal to name a few.
Much of that contrast was accomplished through tile. The studio told Dezeen that tiles with geometric and floral patterns were added to the ground floor and the guest bathrooms. This was to create disparity between the foreground and the background.
“Someone said it was like a mash up of Copenhagen, Seville and New York City, which we took as a compliment.”
Matthew Grzywinski studied at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, earning degrees in Architecture and Industrial Design, according to the studio’s web site. As a solo practitioner he designed and administrated the construction of commercial and retail commissions as well as a host of built residential projects in New York City and beyond before co-founding his practice with Amador Pons in 2003. He has been a speaker, critic and contributor to architectural and urban developmental think tanks, summits and charettes in New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Tokyo, Toronto, Basel, Munich and Milan.
Amador Pons earned his Architecture degree at Syracuse University. After several years of managing the construction of multiple renovations and new ground-up construction buildings in and around New York City in addition to co-producing Earthquake! (Springer Wien Press 2001) with Lebbeus Woods, Pons joined Matthew Grzywinski to establish their practice in 2003.
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