By: Julie Wanzer, LEED AP
Denver, CO – Amid the current hospitality boom in Colorado, one cannot help but take note of local hospitality-focused design firm, JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE (JNS), which has designed several of the latest hotels under construction, including The Ramble Hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton Greeley at Lincoln Park and The Maven Hotel.
When asked what has influenced the design of The Dairy Block hotel component, Jim Johnson, Founding Partner at JNS, commented on a hospitality trend he coins as “monetizing the experience.” He noted that in this current experience economy, highly influenced by millennials, people will pay more for a notable experience, especially in the travel and leisure industry sector. When designing The Maven Hotel, developed by Sage Hospitality, McWhinney and Grand American, his team also took into context the architectural fabric of LoDo (Lower Downtown Denver) and how the hotel was designed around a courtyard.
Monetizing the experience for The Maven Hotel has not been without its challenges which the JNS design team has had to overcome. Nicole Nathan, Partner at JNS, mentioned the initial entitlement process as a test as well as the intricacies of working with the LoDo Design Review Board. Per Nicole, The Maven Hotel had to be set back 15 feet above 85 feet and then raised two floors off the ground in order to meet several city codes.
LoDo also has an 100 feet height limitation, which meant the design team had to maximize the density of The Maven Hotel, all while integrating the hotel design with The Alley, a major retail feature of The Dairy Block. In addition, there was an air-stream trailer inside the building, which the City of Denver has no code for, until Nicole and her team performed an immense amount of research.
Unique design features of The Maven Hotel include the distinct masonry of the exterior, where the design team had to tuck the air intakes into the jam of the windows to maintain the “beauty of the brick” around the building, according to Mr. Johnson. In order to provide a seamless aesthetic transition for the interior, careful design consideration was given to the hotel lobby due to the fact that it connects to the lobby of the office building of The Dairy Block. Another distinctive design feature includes the guest rooms where the beds face the windows (typically the opposite is true), with a headboard that opens up to also function as a desk.
Renderings by Creme, courtesy of JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE