Even at the outset, Level Hotel was designed to be more than just a hospitality property and more than just a rectangular tower rising above a cement edifice abutting the curb.
To be a true pioneer for the new Williamsburg, Level Hotel had to offer something for everyone — the hotel guests, the commuting office workers and the neighborhood at large.
But designing a multi-use building that genuinely engages the community is no small task as the demand for public engagement in this case had to be balanced with the developers’ intent to maximize the site’s profitability.
Another major design challenge came in the form of overcoming NYC’s orthagonal road grid, which naturally imparts a sense of monotony to street-level design; moreover, the urban grid largely compels new construction projects to conform to its rigid logic with one or two specific entrances immediately adjacent to the curb.
Finding a solution fell upon architects Yohay Albo and Nick Liberis of Albo Liberis LLC, who resolved the design brief’s seeming incongruities by planning an outwardly focused grouping of structures that still maintained programmatic integrity per the developer’s design brief.
Specifically, the 50,000 s/f pad would incorporate a rich outdoor space with multiple walkways opening from the street onto an urban plaza, and wide staircases leading up to a public green roof that offers 360-degree views of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The layout of these amenities is porous in contrast to the more dense and aggregated construction generally found in NYC, and passage through the site is enhanced by the tower structure above, which by an expression of engineering, spans above the plaza to maintain an entirely open area some 50 ft. below the tower.
Making this span possible are the inter-calated support beams expressed on the building exterior, which give the property a distinct identity and provide a respite to passersby from the generic new construction found in many other parts of Williamsburg.
With a diverse collection of shops and restaurants facing onto the urban plaza, the site effectively channels the energy of the street dynamic to further heighten public engagement with the environs. With ten floors of offices above as well as a luxury hotel, the design of Level Hotel provides the perfect balance between the needs of the developers and the community.
The project is slated for completion in late 2015.