Austin, Texas, USA
Hotel Magdalena by Lake|Flato Architects with Ten Eyck Landscape Architects takes inspiration from history and presents a building for the future with sustainable uses of resources and the creation of unique spaces for a guest-tailored experience.
For its inspiring, sustainable design, Hotel Magdalena has recently been awarded a 2022 American Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
The design team chose a mass-timber wood structure for the project to honor the history of the site where The Austin Terrace Motor Hotel, which had previously been torn down, was built in the 1950s.
It had been constructed of exposed heavy timber beams and columns in the mid-century modern aesthetic.
The team wanted to reference the history and material aesthetic of the site to create warm and inviting structures for guests to experience Hotel Magdalena.
Constructed of prefabricated Dowel Laminated Timber (DLT) floor and ceiling structure, Hotel Magdalena is the first mass timber boutique hotel in North America.
To conceptualize the vision for the Hotel, the design team held an integrated design & sustainability charrette during the initial phase for Hotel Magdalena.
In these early conversations, hotel ownership and the design team agreed the building structure and materials needed to be considered as an integral component of the larger sustainability goals of reducing energy demand and conserving water.
Reducing the embodied energy of the construction materials was integral. By selecting wood as the primary structural material and exposing the mass timber structural panels to the conditioned hotel rooms, the overall embodied energy for construction and finish material areas were greatly reduced.
An equally important design goal was to enhance the outdoor experience for guests, promoting the use of common exterior spaces to foster a sense of community within the hotel and encourage guests to spend time outdoors in the lushly planted terraces.
Visitors arrive at a feature 2-way gridded porte-cochère structure, and one of several existing Oak heritage trees preserved on the site provides shade for the inviting entry walkway.
By designing inviting outdoor spaces and selecting wood as the primary structural and finish material, guests are drawn to connect with the landscape and internal courtyards.
The deeply shaded porches and outdoor terraces give The Hotel Magdalena a unique experience that recalls the Hill Country lake houses and natural artesian springs in the region.
A multi-story timber walkway structure with gapped DLT walkway panels outside of the hotel rooms required careful organization of boards with spacers and was uniquely designed to accommodate the existing Oak heritage trees on the site, which blend in with the structure.
The mass timber panels, structural walls, and heavy timber porches were prefabricated off-site, delivered, and erected in a more streamlined schedule.
This process ensured more quality control of the finished product.
By exposing the wood structure to guests, the materials tell the story of how the structure was built while providing a warmer, more textured material in the guest rooms and common outdoor porches.
Project: Hotel Magdalena
Architects: Lake|Flato Architects
Design Team: David Lake, Sophia Razzaque, Melina Phillips, Michael Britt, Jef Snyder, Todd Wascher, Grace Boudewyns, Dan Mowery, Sam Vonderau, Pavan Iyer, Sara Todavchick, and Kevin Hyun
Landscape Architects: Ten Eyck Landscape Architects
General Contractor: Mycon General Contractors
Client: Bunkhouse Group
Photographers: Casey Dunn and Nick Simonite