Professor Jeff Krolicki
Fall 2014

The SoCo Art Hotel is located in the St. Elmo region, a light industrial district within the city of Austin. The site is neglected, despite the important transit nodes located in its vicinity. South Congress Avenue, a major tourist destination in Austin, extends south and sits adjacent to the property. Ben White Boulevard, a highway linked to the airport, crosses South Congress a few blocks north. Despite this, the general trend along South Congress Avenue is north, not south. 

Art is the motivator behind this design. It is strategically placed to guide visitors to public areas. This project caters to Austin’s art culture, offering local artists an opportunity to create works and display them throughout our hotel. Because of its potential as an important entry point, our building addresses newcomers to the Austin area. Our hotel is open to the public, with the bottom level being easily accessible to passerbys. The interior is surprisingly lively and intimate despite the industrial nature of its surroundings, lending itself to become a community hub for St. Elmo. However, the hotel’s exterior  has a scaleless, unapologetic, and industrial feel that relates to the “history” of the site. The hotel is integrated with the key feature of future development - the St. Elmo’s Market. 

An element of discovery drove the design process. The hotel is offset from the market, and is discovered by moving past the it or through an opening within it. The sides of the market and hotel that face each other are glass, creating a visual relationship. Artwork is also discovered throughout the hotel, as it “controls” circulation, where sculptures act as landmarks that lead to public areas. From the exterior, hints are given as to the happenings inside by means of framed art pieces and the revelation of interior materials. There are different room types, and it is probable that a guest that stays more than once will get a different room each time - discovered with more stays. 

Site map showing the hotel as a warm, unique place within the industrial site. There is a complexity of form seen in plan view, which contrasts with the simplicity of the facade, as well as its cold materials and scaleless form. As seen on the facade below, areas that mark public spaces and frame artwork protrude.

Perspectives showing the concept of discovery. The scaleless, concrete facade has a rich, wood interior filled with art. There are different rooms, so that guests staying more than once will discover the variation within.

Sections show placement of art in public spaces, as well as the dynamic cuts and level changes within the building. The perspective shows a public space that art guides guest towards.