The design for the 80,000-square foot, 21-story, 230-room hotel was a collaboration between Amsterdam-based Concrete and New York City-based Montroy Andersen DeMarco (MADGI). The hotel is minimalistic, elegant, and high-tech, in keeping with the chain’s aesthetic as a whole. The design team focused on optimizing space and quality, while maintaining the scale and design standards developed by the chain in its European locations.
Programming and Design: The preliminary design was completed in late 2010 and the final design was completed in 2011. Construction began in the summer of 2012. The structure was topped out in 2013. In addition to MADGI and Concrete, the project team included construction manager Flintlock Construction Services, structural engineer DeSimone Consulting Engineers, and façade consultant Gilsanz Murray Steficek.
To the west of the main entrance on West 50th Street, the design team incorporated a one-story-high concrete feature wall with the citizenM logo embedded in it, surrounded by flash glass windows. The glass-enclosed main entrance features a large, bell-shaped light fixture.
The main entrance brings guests into the 2,300-square foot first floor. This floor houses a soaring 30' x 65' main lobby, a 500-square foot side lobby, a 500-square foot seating area and public canteen with a multi-sectional modular sofa with leather skirting and chrome-steel details, and a 300-square foot bar with black sprayed cross-cut oak planks with visible veins for a rough appearance. The elevator core is clad in black granite engraved with oversized human silhouettes with engraving filled in with gold leaf.
The flooring is of sweetened natural Belgian MOXE soft blue stone with black grout. A section of the west wall in the bar area is black-stained wood with rough cuts. A two-story display case of multilayer dense plywood laminate runs the full length of the lobby north to south. Its 12-to-18-millimeter thick shelves are filled with books and colorful art objects that complement the black and white Mepla film-faced plywood. The edges of shelves are sanded with a boiled linseed oil finish.
Custom-produced bell-shaped lighting fixtures, each one meter wide and made of steel, with a brushed stainless finish on the outside and sprayed red finish on the inside, are placed throughout the lobby. The prominent bell lights are fitted with a reflective half-sphere on top that houses an LED lighting element. These pendant luminaire fixtures are semi-recessed into the lobby ceiling with light coves around them. In one portion of the lobby there is a “cloud,” where mesh cloud-like pendants fixtures of three different sizes are suspended at different heights to create a three-dimensional field. There is also a chandelier that appears to be constructed from a series of cantilevered table lamps suspended in a circle. This chandelier, called Dear Indigo, was designed and manufactured by Moooi.
The 1,500-square foot mezzanine includes a lounge and work area, stairs, and an elevator lobby. It features broadloom carpet, a continuous counter, tables, and chairs and is rife with electrical outlets for working guests. It also has two outside terraces, one each on the north and south sides.
Guest rooms are on floors two through 19, with the average size of a room being 170 square feet. Beds are over-sized at 6'8" x 7'8" and feature cushions on three sides, including removable ones for window access. The shower and toilet are housed in a prefabricated pod enclosed with glass and an acrylic bottom and ceiling; the ceiling is contour-illuminated. Guests can change the pod’s lighting color scheme with the touch of a button. The sink is outside of the bathroom pod, incorporated into a refrigerator unit. The rooms’ ceilings are a solid laminate panel in white and wood veneer finish, with a perimeter light cove and down lights. There is a desk with a lamp, chair, and also a free-standing chair. The floor is high-pressure wood laminate.
Each floor features a larger, ADA-compliant room with a different walk-in bathroom and a roll-in shower. All floors house 14 rooms except for floors 17 and 18, which have 13 rooms with revised bathroom pods.
The 20th floor features a 600-square foot gym and 700-square foot outdoor terrace – all with an athletic wood top – and bathrooms. The gym’s wood floor and walls, both indoor and outdoor, are painted with markings that resemble a basketball court.
On the 3,000-square foot 21st floor is the hotel’s main bar, which features a cut solid log counter-top that is 22 feet long, stained oak walls and ceilings, and black shelving constructed of wood laminate. The flooring is hardwood. A 1,300-square foot outdoor bar/terrace is also on this floor. It is lined with pavers and ipe wood, which is naturally water-resistant and requires no chemical treatment. The roof terrace features illuminated flowerpots by Bloom Holland. The 21st floor bar features a round, steel column that supports the 22nd level’s floor slab and beams.
The top three levels above the rooftop bar house mechanical equipment. The 22nd level, immediately above the rooftop bar, is partially cantilevered to serve as a partial roof of the terrace on the north and east side of the bar. It is a cantilevered concrete floor with an “upset” concrete beam (the beam is situated above the floor it supports rather than underneath it). This level also houses a diesel generator and a cooling tower.
On the 23rd level are mechanical rooms, including the elevator machine room and boiler room. The 23rd level has two water tanks.
The cellar level contains the back-of-house services including a food prep pantry, employee locker rooms, an electrical room, gas distribution room, linen storage, linen room, trash storage room, trash and linen chutes, public bathrooms, and luggage storage and general storage.
Core and Shell: Due to the constraints of the high-traffic midtown Manhattan site, the design team opted for a concrete structural system instead of citizenM Hotel’s signature pre-manufactured modules. MADGI worked with DeSimone Consulting Engineers to develop an unusual concrete structure that would accommodate the interior space requirements and the difficult site.
Large sections of the 60-foot by 100-foot foundation are 48 inches thick, while some of the sections of the slab are five inches of slab on grade. The team used a mat foundation with perimeter columns for the structural system. The mat foundation had to support the entire height of the building transferred through perimeter columns and two shear walls.
Two centrally located, parallel reinforced concrete trusses run east to west above the voluminous, wide-span ground level lobby. These trusses are extremely narrow, but are each 20 feet high. They are weaved into the layout of the second and third floors and had to be designed in a manner that would not occupy too much space, thus cutting into income-generating guestroom areas. The team had to develop this unusual engineering system to carry the weight of the building without columns intruding into the open lobby space. The trusses are made with angled rebar and feature two openings to accommodate corridors intersecting through them.
The east and west sides of the building also each has a shear wall with two columns on the north side and two on the south side. The columns continue through the entire structure but change shape; they begin as round columns in the lobby but as they continue up they change to flat rectangles to fit within the walls between guest rooms to maximize the rentable space.
Above the trusses, the structural system changes to an H-shaped shear wall, with the sides of the H being the east and west shear walls with one shear wall section resting on the trusses in the middle.
Each floor is concrete poured in eight-inch slabs (on average). The foundation system features an elevator pit for three elevators. The foundation’s design had to be revised during excavation to accommodate found conditions, namely a sharply sloping bedrock level that was high on the east side.
Heavy mechanical equipment on the top three levels of the building, located above the 21st floor rooftop bar, required a structural-steel support system.
Exterior Photo by Wilk Marketing Communications Interior Photo by Adrian Gaut