Concrete, Montroy Andersen DeMarco help design citizenM New York hotel

citizenM New York, the first citizenM hotel in the U.S., opened near Times Square near the corner of Broadway and 50th Street. The development team for citizenM New York included citizenM Hotel and Brack Capital Real Estate. The design for the 80,000-square-foot, 21-story, 230-room hotel was a collaboration between Amsterdam-based design architect Concrete and New York City-based architect Montroy Andersen DeMarco (MADGI). 

According to MADGI principal Richard J. DeMarco, AIA, the hotel’s interior design is “modern and high-tech, yet comfortable and inviting.”  The design team focused on optimizing space and quality, while maintaining citizenM’s scale, branding and technology standards.

The property offers numerous amenities, including self check-in, customizable guestrooms through touchscreen MoodPads, communal workspace and Apple iMac stations, a design partnership with a Swiss furniture brand Vitra, an outpost of Amsterdam’s bookstore MENDO, outdoor spaces including a rooftop bar with views of Manhattan and canteen (a 24-hour grab & go-style cafeteria featuring an open kitchen with a cocktail and coffee bar) that offers locally-sourced food and beverages.

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The preliminary design was completed in late 2010, and the final design was completed in 2011. Construction began in the summer of 2012. The structure was topped out in 2013. In addition to MADGI and Concrete, the project team included structural engineer DeSimone Consulting Engineers, mechanical and electrical engineer Matthew K. Bendix, P.E. Consulting Engineers and façade consultant Gilsanz Murray Steficek.

To the west of the main entrance on West 50th Street, the design team incorporated a one-story-high concrete feature wall with the citizenM logo embedded in it, surrounded by glass windows.  Above the glass-enclosed main entrance are seven bell-shaped light fixtures, mirrored by identical fixtures installed inside the lobby.

The main entrance brings guests into the 2,300-square-foot first floor. This floor houses a 30-foot by 65-foot main lobby, a 500-square-foot side lobby, a 500-square-foot seating area and public canteen with a multi-sectional modular sofa with leather skirting and chrome-steel details and a 300-square-foot bar with black sprayed cross-cut oak planks with visible veins for a rough appearance.

The elevator core is clad in black granite engraved with human silhouettes with engraving filled in with gold leaf, a commissioned art installation by Julian Opie. A backlit mirror installed on the east wall above a fireplace reflects the bar and main lobby area. A smaller section to the west of the main entrances houses a MENDO bookstore and a work area.

The lobby has an oversized living room design and 26-foot ceilings. Like its sister properties, citizenM New York is home to a collection of contemporary art and photography. In addition to Opie’s lobby installation, the hotel has a five-story-high Jen Liu exterior piece wrapping around the façade and visible from the intersections above Times Square. The property also houses a selection of artwork from citizenM’s private collection, including works by Andy Warhol, Daido Moriyama, Florian Süssmayr and David LaChapelle.

The public outdoor spaces include a ground floor courtyard with greenery and two terraces on the mezzanine level that include sculptures, seating and work counters.

The lobby flooring is of Belgian MOXE blue stone with black grout. A section of the west wall in the bar area is black-stained wood with rough cuts. A two-story display case of multilayer dense plywood laminate runs the full length of the lobby north to south. Its 12-to-18-millimeter shelves showcase a mix of art, books and objects from around the world that complement the black and white Mepla film-faced plywood. The edges of shelves are sanded with linseed oil finish. 

Seven custom-produced, bell-shaped lighting fixtures, each one meter wide and made of steel, with a brushed stainless finish on the outside and sprayed red finish on the inside, are placed in the north side of the lobby, parallel to the identical fixtures installed outside. The bell lights are fitted with a reflective half-sphere on top that houses an LED lighting element. These pendant luminaire fixtures are semi-recessed into the lobby ceiling with light coves around them. 

In one portion of the lobby, there is a “light cloud,” where white pendant fixtures of different sizes and shapes are suspended at different heights to create a three-dimensional field. There is also a chandelier that appears to be constructed from a series of cantilevered table lamps suspended in a circle. This chandelier, called Dear Indigo, was designed and manufactured by Moooi.  Several “table lamp” fixtures surround the central sofa.

The 1,500-square-foot mezzanine includes a lounge and work area, stairs and an elevator lobby. It includes broadloom carpet, a counter, chairs, electrical outlets and tables with desktops and printers. It also has two outside terraces, one each on the north and south sides.

Guestrooms are on floors two through 19, with the average size of a room being 170 square feet. Beds measure 6 feet 8 inches by 7 feet 8 inches, and include custom-made mattresses and cushions on three sides. Beds also include storage drawers. The windows are wall-to-wall in all rooms. The rooms also have Samsung touch-screen MoodPads to allow guests to control TV, music, window blinds, temperature, ambient mood lighting, digital artwork and alarm themes, as well as provide Internet access. 

The shower and toilet are housed in a prefabricated pod enclosed with glass and an acrylic bottom and ceiling. Guests can change the pod’s lighting color scheme with the touch of a MoodPad. The bathrooms have Hansgrohe Power Rain showers. The sink is outside of the bathroom pod, incorporated into a refrigerator unit. The rooms’ ceilings are a solid laminate panel in white and wood veneer finish, with a perimeter light cove and down lights. There is a desk with a lamp and chair, as well as a freestanding chair. The floor is high-pressure wood laminate.

Each floor has an ADA-compliant room with a different walk-in bathroom and a roll-in shower. All floors house 14 rooms except for floors 17 and 18, which have 13 rooms with revised bathroom pods.

The 20th floor features a 600-square-foot gym and 700-square-foot outdoor yoga terrace – all with wooden top floor – and bathrooms. The gym’s wood floor and walls, both indoor and outdoor, are painted with markings that resemble a basketball court.

On the 3,000-square-foot 21st floor is the hotel’s main bar for up to 155 guests, which has a log countertop that is 22 feet long, oak walls and ceilings, fireplace, and black shelving constructed of wood laminate that displays art and objects. A wall opposite the bar is decorated by shelves with artwork and a moose head. Sofas and pillows in varying shades of green contrast the dark walls and floor. A mirror wall reflects views of the Manhattan skyline visible outside the windows. The flooring is hardwood. A 1,300-square foot outdoor bar/terrace is also on this floor.  It is lined with pavers and ipe wood. The roof terrace has illuminated flowerpots by Bloom Holland. The 21st floor bar has a steel column that supports the 22nd level’s floor slab and beams.

The top three levels above the rooftop bar house mechanical equipment. The 22nd level, immediately above the rooftop bar, is partially cantilevered to serve as a partial roof of the terrace on the north and east side of the bar. It is a cantilevered concrete floor with an “upset” concrete beam (the beam is situated above the floor it supports rather than underneath it). This level also houses a diesel generator and a cooling tower.

On the 23rd level are mechanical rooms, including the elevator machine room and boiler room. The 23rd level has two water tanks. 

The cellar level contains the back-of-house services including a food prep pantry, employee locker rooms, an electrical room, gas distribution room, linen storage, linen room, trash storage room, trash and linen chutes, public bathrooms and luggage storage and general storage.

Due to the constraints of the midtown Manhattan site, the design team opted for a concrete structural system instead of citizenM Hotel’s signature pre-manufactured modules.  MADGI worked with DeSimone Consulting Engineers to develop the concrete structure that would accommodate the interior space requirements and the site. 

Sections of the 60-foot by 100-foot foundation are 48 inches thick, while some of the sections of the slab are five inches of slab on grade.  The team used a mat foundation with perimeter columns for the structural system.  The mat foundation had to support the entire height of the building transferred through perimeter columns and two shear walls.

Two parallel concrete trusses run east to west above the wide-span ground level lobby.  These trusses are narrow, but each are 20 feet high.  They are weaved into the layout of the second and third floors and had to be designed in a manner that would not occupy too much space.  The team had to develop this engineering system to carry the weight of the building without columns intruding into the open lobby space.  The trusses are made with angled rebar and have two openings to accommodate corridors intersecting through them.

The east and west sides of the building also each has a shear wall with two columns on the north side and two on the south side.  The columns continue through the entire structure but change shape. They begin as round columns in the lobby, but as they continue up they change to flat rectangles to fit within the walls between guest rooms to maximize the space.

Above the trusses, the structural system changes to an H-shaped shear wall, with the sides of the H being the east and west shear walls with one shear wall section resting on the trusses in the middle.

Each floor is concrete poured in eight-inch slabs (on average).  The foundation system includes an elevator pit for three elevators.  The foundation’s design had to be revised during excavation to accommodate found conditions, namely a sloping bedrock level that was high on the east side.

Mechanical equipment on the top three levels of the building, located above the 21st floor rooftop bar, required a structural-steel support system.

The curtain wall system was imported from Italy and consists of varying hues of blue and green.  The top of the building was fitted with an LED video screen that wraps around the bulkhead above the rooftop bar.  

Founded in 1990 and based in New York City, Montroy Andersen DeMarco (MADGI) is an architectural and interior design firm serving predominantly the Greater New York area.  MADGI is led by four principals: Dan Montroy, Steven Andersen, Richard DeMarco, and Marvin Meltzer. 

Headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, citizenM was founded by Rattan Chadha, former owner and founder of Mexx International fashion company. Now in Amsterdam, Glasgow, London, Rotterdam and New York, citizenM is has additional properties planned for New York, London and Paris. 

Photos by Ola Wilk/Wilk Marketing Communications