Hip Hotel

Industrial Aesthetic Fits Neighborhood

Mohammad Rajab


The Wythe Hotel opened under watchful eyes as the new center of hip happenings in the skyrocketing neighborhood of Williamsburg. The 70-key hotel at the corner of Wythe Avenue and North 11th Street was built as a cooperage in 1901 and most recently served as industrial lofts before being abandoned. The hotel design had to capture and retain the raw post-industrial and offbeat bohemian vibe that has come to define this corner of Brooklyn, a block from the East River waterfront.

The existing building had no structural issues, thanks in part to the thick brick exterior walls and, therefore, was reused for the new design. Existing brick was cautiously restored to show the beauty and history of the building. Exterior brick facades were cleaned of dirt and graffiti. Interior brick, covered with layers of paint from past occupants, were blasted with walnut shells, removing the paint but keeping the brick intact. As many as 50 archways were cut through 4′ thick brick cellar walls to create new passageways. Openings that needed to be filled in for the new design were with repurposed brick from cellar walls. Careful brick stitching and new mortar colored to match the century-old existing ensured an effective, authentic blending of old and new.

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