The Nolitan Hotel is a 55 room boutique property in downtown Manhattan. It also features a restaurant at grade and a roof deck. The building, interiors, restaurant and rooftop were designed by Grzywinski+Pons.
The Nolitan is located on the corner of Elizabeth and Kenmare Streets. Kenmare is a wider thoroughfare with a comparatively larger scale than the neighborhood – Nolita – that it bisects. It was our intention for the hotel to act as architectural and programmatic connective tissue joining the northern and southern parts of the district. The lot itself is a rather constrained trapezoid but it offers a lot of facade and exposure (principally northern) in relation to it’s area. Grzywinski+Pons wanted to celebrate and exploit that opportunity but reduce the potential reading of the northern facade as an outsize bulk so we bifurcated the building into an eastern and western volume. While each part is clad in the same family of materials and fused at grade with a contiguous ground floor there is enough of a break to address the scale. This division of the mass also allowed us to address the narrowing site with a realignment of the corridor and guest rooms yielding more space and allowing us to put loggias on all the rooms in the western half.
In addition to the loggias Grzywinski+Pons especially wanted to foster a connection to the neighborhood at the street level and we played with the section of the ground floor: we dropped the restaurant dining room and a portion of the lounge two feet below the street level and left portions of both the restaurant and reception double height. We wanted to abstract the view of the street and its vehicular traffic with this lower perspective from the dining room and also added a ceramic frit to the glass there. In the lobby the double height point supported glass provides more of a direct unfettered connection to the street. Within the guest rooms themselves we alternated channel glass with fully transparent panels centered on dramatic sightlines. By using a low iron glass we avoided the melancholic effect of northern light with a greenish cast and instead the frostiness fortifies the daylight for a bright cheerful effect. Privacy and/or views can be maintained without sacrificing daylighting.
The material palette for the entire project was chosen to be elemental rather than a surface treatment and the intention is that – with use and age – the materials will develop a patina or richness rather than become shabby. The exterior is comprised largely of terraced terra cotta shingles, exposed concrete, glass and wood. Grzywinski+Pons carried some of the same materials (and all of the same philosophy) to the interiors. We used European Oak floors finished so as to look unfinished, exposed concrete, ceramic tile, leather, felt, blackened steel – all real, elemental finishes that share the characteristics of warmth, texture and authenticity. Bathed in the northern light via the channel glass the interiors trade none of their cozy cheerfulness for sophistication.