Prototype Hotel Benefits from Loadbearing Masonry + Green Design
Anti-vanilla. That’s the CityFlats Hotel. CityFlats has 56 rooms on five floors and each room is unique; 12 interior designers made sure of that. It’s part of the “anti-vanilla” experience at this modern, green hotel located in downtown Holland. The newly constructed, masonry building was designed by Holland-based GMB Architects-Engineers and is touted by its owners as an “eco-boutique” style hotel. GMB expects the property to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, achieving at least 33 of 69 possible points from the U.S. Green Building Council. When it does, it will be among the first hotels in the United States to earn the LEED Silver rating.
From CityFlats beginnings, owner Charter House Holdings, LLC, wanted a facility that minimized the building’s environmental impact without sacrificing style. “The hotel is one of only four or five in the world to achieve LEED Silver certification,” according to Charter House’s Director of Development, Kirk Koeman. The five-story hotel features a 100-seat rooftop restaurant with a view of Lake Macatawa. The main level boasts a stylish lobby, multiple conference rooms, a full digital theater with stadium seating for 35 and a lounge that includes a full-service wine bar with chic soft seating. Charter House Innovations built all the interiors for the guest rooms, lounge and the restaurant. “It’s a prototype for a brand of hotel – a unique, boutique, environmentally conscious hotel,” Koeman said. Additional hotels are currently being planned for markets in Michigan and Ohio.
Masonry, the Solution to Expedited Schedule, Modern Expression
One of the challenges was to design an urban-style, boutique hotel that presented a modern expression, but still fit into the traditional downtown context of Holland. Integration of traditional brick and metal panels successfully mixes the old and new, allowing the building to assimilate with its surroundings and also make a statement as a streamlined, linear, modern hotel.
Traditionally, brick creates a modeled, textured field of color to a building façade. To create a modern expression using this traditional material, two shades of red Norman size (2-2⁄3" x 12") Belden brick were chosen, a red smooth and a slightly darker red velour. These brick were laid in a 1⁄3 bond pattern with two courses of the darker red velour brick broken up by a course of the smooth faced red. The banding and shape of the brick strengthened the modern character of the hotel, while at the same time created a controlled, textured field of color complementing its surroundings.
Brick and metal were used on the façade at locations that would emphasize and express their true function. Brick was used at locations of masonry loadbearing with metal panel in between, expressing areas where structure was being spanned. The two materials together provided contrast.
While considering the owner’s design requirements, GMB needed to design the hotel using cost-effective approaches and materials. And, they had to do it on an accelerated schedule. The 65,000 sf CityFlats was to be constructed and opened in under one year, making it extremely important that every part of the process be expedited – including design.
Masonry was the obvious solution because of its availability and cost effectiveness, allowing construction to begin immediately. GMB has a long history of working with Burggrabe Masonry and is always impressed by the quality of their craftsmanship. Burggrabe rose to the challenge of the accelerated schedule by providing a masonry foreman and crew that made all the difference in the success of the project, providing the skills necessary to perform not only quality workmanship but also executing in a highly efficient and timely manner.
The building envelope is insulated masonry cavity wall comprised of 4" brick, 1" air space, 1.5" rigid insulation, vapor barrier and 8" CMU. Interior walls of the building consist of loadbearing 8" CMU and precast hollowcore concrete slabs. Steel columns and transfer walls were used to create wall-free space through the lobby area. Masonry bearing walls are reinforced with #5 bars every 16", grouted solid for the entire 65' height of the building and provide resistance to lateral wind and seismic forces in each direction.
Earning LEED Points with Masonry
CityFlats Hotel was designed to meet a Silver rating level in the USGBC’s LEED Green Building Rating System – the benchmark for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. According to the USGBC: “LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.”
Masonry construction contributed to meeting LEED requirements in several ways. In the Materials and Resource category of LEED, the use of masonry contributed to the diversion of 95% of construction waste from landfill (MRc2.1 and c2.2) because its modular unit size inherently avoids significant waste streams. Not only did the use of masonry not create much waste, it also used products with recycled content facilitating the absorption of other landfill-bound waste. The CMU mix included fly ash, contributing to recycled material credits MRc4.1 and c4.2 by keeping that fly-ash from being sent to the landfill and reducing the need for new raw materials. In addition, the local sourcing of masonry materials allowed for fewer vehicle miles for deliveries and contributed to MRc5.1 and c5.2, as well as an innovation credit for exceeding the upper threshold of the credit requirement by 10%. Belden Brick used on the project was extracted, processed and manufactured in Sugarcreek, OH, 380 miles from the jobsite. Consumers Concrete CMU is produced in South Haven, a mere 30 miles away. In addition, masonry’s thermal mass provided a damping effect for the mechanical system, evening out temperature swings, reducing energy consumption and costs and contributing to the Energy and Atmosphere credit for energy efficiency.
Benefits Beyond LEED
Masonry also addressed the owner’s strict requirements for sound transmission between rooms. CityFlats wanted their guests to be surprised by the luxurious and creative accommodations, including quiet rooms. While the interior reinforced masonry walls between guest rooms are the structurally loadbearing walls for the entire building, concrete masonry also helps to decrease sound transmission (STC) between the guest rooms. Using standard CMU in size 8" x 8" x 16", GMB was able to achieve an STC rating of 50 between rooms, which blocks approximately 50 dB from transmitting through the partition.
As mentioned, CityFlats features a top floor restaurant with 12 foot floor-to-ceiling windows that provide panoramic views of downtown Holland and the waterfront. By locating a restaurant on the fifth floor, Michigan Building Code required the entire loadbearing structure to be 2-hour fire rated. Inherently, the masonry structure provided the fire resistance needed to economically meet this stringent requirement at no additional cost.
Masonry bearing walls are reinforced and provide resistance to lateral wind and seismic forces in each direction, as well as provided a damping effect for the mechanical system. Additional benefits include fire resistance and noise abatement between guest rooms. - Photo courtesy of GDK Construction
Eco-responsible Choices Add Comfort
CityFlats’ mechanical systems diverge from traditional hotel systems as well. An innovative heat pump system allows the building to achieve high efficiency operation while maintaining individual temperature control in each of the guest rooms. “In order to meet the goal of silver certification,” says David Bell, engineer at GMB, “our approach had to go beyond good mechanical design. It was crucial to coordinate with the architectural design to ensure we had good solar performance and masonry’s thermal mass.” The exterior was designed with integrated solar shading and a layout that ensures that daylight penetrates 90% of the spaces.
Other green products and strategies include: rapidly renewable cork flooring in every guest room; low-VOC paints; hypo-allergenic bamboo linens; recycled glass bathroom countertops; waste recycling; low-flow plumbing fixtures, including dual-flush toilets; use of LED’s for interior and exterior accent lighting, and occupancy sensors for controlling energy use. Interior materials were selected in order to minimize impact on indoor air quality.
CityFlats Hotel opened in spring of 2008 to critical acclaim. The bottom line? The five-story building is quickly becoming a Holland landmark and is proof that masonry solutions offer immediate and measurable impacts for sustainable buildings.
LEED Credits Sought to Which Masonry Contributed
|Category and Credit||Description||Points|
|Materials & Resources 2.1||Construction Waste Management – 50% diverted||1|
|Materials & Resources 2.2||Construction Waste Management – 75% diverted||1|
|Materials & Resources 4.1||Recycled Content – 10%||1|
|Materials & Resources 4.2||Recycled Content – 20%||1|
|Materials & Resources 5.1||Regional Materials – 10%||2|
|Materials & Resources 5.2||Regional Materials – 20%||1|
CityFlats Hotel | Holland MI
Architect & Engineer GMB Architects-Engineers Holland MI
General Contractor GDK Construction Holland MI
Mason Contractor Burggrabe Masonry Belding MI
Masonry Materials Belden Brick & Supply | Consumers Concrete | Dow | Grace Construction Products | Hohmann & Barnard | Lafarge NA | Solomon Colors | Superior Precast Products
Photos by Grooters Productions, courtesy of GMB Architects-Engineers