The Society Hotel in Bingen, Washington confronts conflicting contextual drivers, responding with a singular and iconic organization. Located, in the Columbia River Gorge, the project's site is near the waterfront, yet separated from it by a series of industrial facilities. The property is within a residential setting, requiring a sensitivity to scale and the privacy of its neighbors. Attempting to maximize the relationship of the hotel to its natural context, while buffering its impact on its surroundings, our concept became one of "Edited Panorama." Using the massing of the new hotel to edit out the middle ground view, the connection between the foreground hotel courtyard and the background grandeur of the Gorge is experientially linked.
The client's program consisted of four distinct, yet related components: the adaptive reuse of a former school, twenty hotel cabins, a covered pathway, and a spa building. The primary intervention was to reimagine the cabins as a ring that defines a shared courtyard. With its connected roof, this ring acts as a frame, allowing views both between the cabins and upward to the sky and hills. Visitors are presented with a double perspective - the close view of the courtyard's garden and the far view of the landscape - providing a sense of retreat. At the same time, this new perimeter of cabins provides a delineation between the neighborhood and hotel, while maintaining a residential scale. Within the ring, a spa building serves as a central gathering space with shared amenities for the hotel's visitors.
Through the strategic placement of elements, the Society Hotel reconciles the competing needs of site and users. Maximizing views outward, while being respectful neighbors, the design consolidates the disparate programmatic elements into a singular form that both defines an internal community space and embraces its surrounding environment.