Chicago-based Studio Gang design and develop Populus hotel, a 13-story building that claims to become the first carbon-positive hotel in the US, located in the area of Colorado.
“Improving the resiliency of our cities has never been more urgent—and it includes reducing carbon emissions as well as strengthening community bonds,” says Jeanne Gang, founder of Studio Gang.
“We’ve designed Populus to be a new destination in downtown Denver that combines these environmental and social ambitions. With its distinctive aspen eye windows, the building cultivates a lively pedestrian scene in its neighborhood, while simultaneously connecting you with views of the natural wonders beyond the city limits.”
“The windows and façade are also tuned for high environmental performance—self-shading, insulating, and channeling rainwater—as part of the architecture’s larger green vision,” claims Gang.
The 265-room hotel will be a new landmark in downtown Denver, featuring a distinctive façade that was inspired by the growth process and characteristic patterns of Aspen trees, an instantly recognizable symbol of Colorado.
The hotel will consist of guest rooms on the upper floors, and lobby, restaurant, and amenity spaces will be designed on the street level of the building.
The texture and rhythm of the façade are optimized according to the program inside, and they are called “lids” over each window extending slightly outward to shade the interior of the building and improve energy performance.
As Studio Gang states, the window “lids” will help to channel rainwater to keep the façade of Populus looking continually clean and bright.
Studio Gang emphasizes that the façade of the hotel is considered according to the thermal comfort and efficiency of the building, to be able to perform efficiently in the Denver climate.
From the interior spaces, guests will see the changing sizes of windows to reflect the public or private nature of various spaces. At the building’s lower level, windows reach up to 30 feet high to frame entrances and views into the lobby and amenity spaces.
Inside the rooms, hotel guests have immersive mountain and city views through windows, while the base of the windows also becomes an occupiable space, transforming into seats or desks that further connect occupants with the outdoors.
The ground will feature a lobby, café, and wine bar, while the second floor will be dedicated to a flexible area that can accommodate large business meetings, co-working areas, weddings, celebrations, or pop-up events.
The top floor will feature a series of hospitality-style suites, bookable for private social or corporate events. The public rooftop will feature an expansive garden terrace planted with regional vegetation, which serves as a lush place to socialize and a visual representation of Populus’ green ethos while naturally cooling the building.
The team states that Populus will be entirely carbon positive starting with its construction and continuing through to its ongoing operations, in addition to a substantial ecological effort offsite, including an initial commitment to plant trees that represent over 5,000 acres of forest – removing the equivalent of nearly 500,000 gallons of gas from the atmosphere.
Aiming to minimize its carbon footprint in the development stage, the building will be built from low-carbon concrete mixes and high-recycled content materials.
The process will be maximizing structural efficiency, using fewer finish materials, minimizing waste, and more.
The project will also follow U.S. Green Building Council codes while targeting LEED Gold certification.
Project: Populus Hotel
Architects: Studio Gang
Lead Architect: Jeanne Gang
Structural Engineer: Studio NYL
Interior Design: Design Agency
Client: Urban Villages
Photographers: Studio Gang