Dezeen Magazine

Pirelli Tire Building by Marcel Breuer

Brutalist Breuer building owned by IKEA could become hotel in Connecticut

IKEA is considering plans to transform a concrete structure by modernist architect Marcel Breuer in New Haven into a hotel, according to reports.

Local newspaper the New Haven Independent reported that the Swedish furniture company, which owns the empty Pirelli Tire Building, is in talks to convert it.

The city's economic development administrator Matthew Nemerson is credited as the source, saying that IKEA has settled on the idea for a hotel after discussing several options for the brutalist structure, including housing and offices.

Development Commission president Pedro Soto said the news was revealed at the body's recent meeting, according to the newspaper.

IKEA neither confirmed nor denied the reports when asked for comment. "IKEA has not announced any new plans for the New Haven Pirelli building," spokesperson Lethisa Bracy told the Independent. "We do not have any additional updates at this time."

Pirelli Tire Building by Marcel Breuer
Photograph is by Alcmaeonid from Wikicommons

The company purchased the 20-acre (eight-hectare) lot on which the Pirelli Tire Building stands in 2003, to develop a retail store that is currently its only outpost in Connecticut.

Breuer completed the Pirelli Tire Building for American company Armstrong Rubber Co in 1970. Its concrete form is divided into a two-storey portion at ground level, and four-level section above.

Sizeable gaps between the two volumes floors run along either side of a central core, giving the building a top-heavy impression.

Its large-scale massing and concrete panels are traits commonly found in brutalism – an architectural movement popular in the 1960s and 1970s, which has recently seen a surge in interest.

Many examples have been controversially demolished in the past few years, including Robin Hood Gardens in London, while others like the Sirius building in Sydney have been spared the bulldozer.

Breuer built several projects in the style, including the former Whitney Museum in New York that was borrowed by the city's Metropolitan Museum of Art, then reopened in 2016 as an exhibition space named after the architect.

Originally from Hungary, Breuer studied at the Bauhaus school in Germany under founder Walter Gropius.

He went on to design many iconic modernist furniture and buildings, including two houses for himself in New Canaan, Connecticut, in 1948 and 1952. One of these was recently renovated and extended by New York architect Toshiko Mori.

Photography is by Gunnar Klack from Wikicommons, unless stated otherwise.