As a diverse, progressive beach community, Santa Monica, CA proved an ideal location for the building of a boutique hotel that is just as progressive in its use of stainless steel to surpass the requirements for LEED Silver certification.
Opening its doors to guests in October 2011, the new hotel is located a few blocks from the Santa Monica Pier on Ocean Avenue in the heart of the city. It was designed to embrace its beautiful ocean-front setting and its thriving retail surroundings.
The privately owned hotel was built to replace a worn-out Travelodge and the faded Pacific Sands Hotel. Like the Shore Hotel, both were owned by the Farzam family and partners. From conception to completion, the replacement of those old establishments was a seven-year process involving feasibility studies, city planning meetings and ultimately city council approval. Ground was broken for the new hotel in January 2010 and it was topped out in February 2011. The project’s lead architect was Gensler. The work was handled through the firm’s Santa Monica offices.
The Farzam family weighed the use of zinc, aluminum and stainless steel products on the building’s exterior but ultimately opted to go with the stainless. Factoring into the decision was the material’s availability in a marine grade, its ability to act as a radiant heat barrier (reduces heating and cooling costs) and its low-maintenance characteristics.
The decision as to which type of stainless to use was an easier one. The design team chose InvariMatte® from Contrarian Metal Resources. The material’s use gives the building’s façade a handsome reflective quality that changes with the weather, from the azure of the ocean to the gunmetal of grey skies. The InvariMatte material was fabricated into 1’ x 3’ shingles that form an interlocking pattern on a 30-degree angle. The system requires tie-ins from the vertical wall to the soffit. No fasteners are exposed, offering a sleek hemlock system.
“The simple use of InvariMatte stainless steel as a cladding element has created a permanent upscale appearance at a relatively reasonable cost,” noted Jim Halliday, President of Contrarian Metal Resources. The Shore Hotel uses 28,000 sq. ft. of the panels in all.
Environmentally conscious by nature, the Farzam family incorporated sustainable concepts and materials throughout the hotel’s design. The contextual design uses the natural landscape and places the gardens to enhance the ambiance by placing large rocks that can be used for seating and a low eighteen inch concrete wall with a water feature to keep the beach feeling even closer than its 59' distance from the building.
The hotel style is California Modern; there is a continuous flow of the environment from the ocean to the hotel, with the urban living room overlooking the Pacific. LED lighting is used to illuminate the space; the walls are sandstone, a clean wavy grey color that mirrors sand to reflect the beach environment. This stunning use of space with the ocean as a foil was recognized as the Best Architectural Hospitality Building under construction for 2011 by the Los Angeles Business Council.
The Shore Hotel complex also includes a second building separated from the first by a narrow street. The buildings are connected via a monumental architectural trellis–clad with stainless shingles–and features entrances placed opposite one another to ease the flow from one building to the other. Also connecting the two structures is a three-level sky walk.
“A full-scale prototype was developed that proved invaluable. It enabled us to determine procedures for installation and saved time as we were able to anticipate challenges as they arose. We used Trespa panels to add warmth to the stainless steel, which added surprising depth. The stainless has an added benefit in that it looks different at different times of day and under different weather conditions resulting in changes as dramatically different as the weather,” explained Bryan Oakes, Gensler Project Manager.
Van Nuys Sheet Metal faced a complicated installation, but the prototype served them well. “The metal panels on this project are the main architectural feature of the building. The field crew of thirty kept a high standard of craftsmanship while maintaining an aggressive schedule to complete the project. The whole project team is very happy with InvariMatte and how the installation progressed,” explained Contractor Jeff Asher of Benchmark (Morley Builders).