An attractive metal mesh screen-wall created by Cambridge Architectural for the Courtyard by Marriott in Lower Manhattan proved to be a creative solution for meeting New York City zoning and building codes while offering solar shading for hotel guestrooms on the lower floors.
The 317-room, 30-story hotel -- just steps from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum and One World Trade Center and Observatory -- was completed earlier this year. Located at 133 Greenwich St., it sits on the perimeter of the original World Trade Center site.
Danny Forster, principal of Danny Forster Design Studio, chose more than 4,100 square feet of Cambridge Mid-Balance mesh to clad the Courtyard’s podium. The mesh provides protection from the sun as well as passive cooling for the guest rooms on the bottom five floors of the hotel tower. In addition to being a world-class designer, Forster is the executive producer of the Discovery Channel’s “Rising: Re-building Ground Zero” and co-host of the network’s new documentary on China that premiered in October.
During the hotel’s design process, a problem developed that was ultimately solved by Forster’s use of the screen-wall.
Zoning laws in Lower Manhattan require street walls to be held to a height of 85 feet, meaning buildings cannot be set back until they rise above that height. This requirement would have created a podium with inefficient-sized guest rooms that were too long and deep.
Selecting a Cambridge Architectural metal mesh screen with 50 percent opacity, Forster struck the right balance to convince city officials that it was both a wall (meeting zoning law) and a window (meeting building codes). In place, the mesh still provides guest room views of the September 11 Memorial.
“The mesh allowed us to do the seemingly impossible: create a single element that could function as both a solid wall and open window.” said Forster. “We were able to satisfy legal requirements, meet the demands of the city, give the developers the rooms they needed, strategically optimize square footage, and clad our podium in a unique glowing veil that transforms from day to night.”
By creating the mesh screen-wall and pulling back the actual interior walls by seven feet, Forster achieved right-sized guest rooms. It also provided 3,600 square feet of usable floor-area-ratio (FAR) that could be redistributed to the top of the building to create a rooftop bar.
“Our metal mesh looks great and frequently provides aesthetic, environmental and security design solutions,” said Cambridge Architectural Sales Director David Zeitlin, “but this was a rare instance when it helped designers meet code and move forward with a concept that otherwise would be rejected.
“Danny really demonstrated ingenuity and innovative problem-solving in his approach, and I hope other architects and designers will look to us to achieve creative results of this kind.”
Project: Courtyard by Marriott New York Lower Manhattan/ World Trade Center Area
Year Completed: 2017
Developer: Hidrock Properties, NYC
Designer: Danny Forster, Danny Forster Design Studios, NYC
General Contractor: OmniBuild, NYC
Metal Mesh Installer: L & S Erectors, Litchfield, OH
Metal Mesh Pattern: Mid-Balance, Cambridge Architectural, Cambridge, MD
Square Footage: 4,107 square feet
Open Area: 50%
Attachment System: Eclipse, Cambridge Architectural, Cambridge, MD