Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

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Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

American firm Handel Architects have completed a New York hotel with porthole windows that give it an uncanny resemblance to children's game Connect Four.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Comprising one seven-storey block adjoined to another that is twelve storeys high, the Dream Downtown Hotel occupies a renovated former annex of the National Maritime Union of America.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Overlapping layers of perforated metal clad the smaller of the two blocks, where the circular openings create juliet balconies for the guest rooms behind.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Porthole windows also feature on the taller block, which has a slanted exterior of stainless steel tiles.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

The architects split the building into two during the renovation, when they removed the middle sections from four floors to create a screened pool terrace at the centre.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

The hotel building also contains two restaurants, a gym, an event space and shops.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

See more stories about hotel architecture in our dedicated category.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Photography is by Bruce Damonte, apart from where otherwise stated.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Here's some more information from Handel Architects:


Dream Downtown Hotel is a 184,000 SF boutique hotel in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The 12-story building includes 316 guestrooms, two restaurants, rooftop and VIP lounges, outdoor pool and pool bar, a gym, event space, and ground floor retail.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Dream sits on a though-block site, fronting both 16th and 17th Streets, and is adjacent to the Maritime Hotel, which sits adjacent to the west. In 1964, the National Maritime Union of America commissioned New Orleans-based architect Albert Ledner to design a new headquarters for the Union, on Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Two years later, he designed an annex for the headquarters on the site where Dream currently sits. A few years later, Mr. Ledner designed a flanking wing for the annex, which would eventually be converted to the Maritime Hotel.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

In the 1970s, the Union collapsed and the buildings were sold and used for various purposes in the years that followed. In 2006, Handel Architects was engaged to convert the main annex into the Dream Downtown Hotel.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

The otherness of Ledner's 1966 design for the National Maritime Annex was critical to preserve. Along the 17th Street exposure, the sloped façade was clad in stainless steel tiles, which were placed in a running bond pattern like the original mosaic tiles of Ledner's Union building.

Dezeen Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

New porthole windows were added, one of the same dimension as the original and one half the size, loosening the rigid grid of the previous design, while creating a new façade of controlled chaos and verve.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

The tiles reflect the sky, sun, and moon, and when the light hits the façade perfectly, the stainless steel disintegrates and the circular windows appear to float like bubbles.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

The orthogonal panels fold at the corners, continuing the slope and generating a contrasting effect to the window pattern of the north façade.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

The 16th Street side of the building, previously a blank façade when the building served as an annex, was given new life. The skin is constructed of two perforated stainless steel layers, its top sheet of holes a replication of the 17th Street punched-window design and the inner sheet a regular perforation pattern.

Cellar - click above for a larger image

The outer rain screen is punctured with porthole-shaped Juliet balconies for the guestrooms and peels up at the ground level to form the hotel canopy and reveal the hotel entrance.

Ground floor - click above for a larger image

The original through block building offered limited possibilities for natural light.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

2nd floor - click above for a larger image

Four floors were removed from the center of the building, which created a new pool terrace and beach along with new windows and balconies for guestrooms.

3rd floor - click above for a larger image

The glass bottom pool allows guests in the lobby glimpses through the water to the outside (and vice versa) connecting the spaces in an ethereal way.

7th floor - click above for a larger image

Light wells framed in teak between the lobby, pool and lower level levels allow the space to flow.

8th floor - click above for a larger image

Two hundred hand blown glass globes float through the lobby and congregate over The Marble Lane restaurant filling the space with a magical light cloud.

9th floor - click above for a larger image

Fixtures and furnishings were custom designed for the public spaces and guestrooms to complement the exterior design and to continue the limitless feeling of space throughout the guest experience.

12th floor - click above for a larger image

Handel Architects served as both architect and interior designer for the project.

Click above for a larger image

  • Panulli

    I especially like the facade seen on the first picture.

  • Nico

    Too many circles.. but still beautiful!

  • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

    No pics of the rooms?

    How many tourists choose their hotel *just* by the look of its facade?

  • Donkey

    Surely this is missing a set of yellow/red curtains for each room so guests can actually play Connect 4?

  • J. Hoar

    The "holiest of holeys", maybe?

  • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=789733807 Chuck Kaminski

    well…not sure where i stand on this swiss cheese yet.

  • http://twitter.com/gilnar @gilnar

    The contrast between 'green' nature bersus steel
    Sand wood versus steel
    Manufactured versus 'natural' is very appealing but need to be implemented more
    Love the bundle of round lights hanging down