Case Study: Hotel Has Instant Heritage

October 27, 2021 - by commARCH
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Case Study: Hotel Has Instant Heritage

Where did it happen?
The location is The Villages Hotel in Brownwood, Florida.

Who was involved?
The Villages Design group led by Tracy Morse (one of the three managing members of the family that founded The Villages) and ESa (Earl Swensson Associates).

What was the goal?
To create a master-planned retirement mega-community, The Villages. The objective is to create a sense of tradition and history which is a part of the design brief. The completed edifice will be a bold mixture of contemporary and traditional elements that come together to create the appearance that “they’ve always been there."

Image Credits: Attic Fire Photography


What was the project about?
The Villages’ design group and ESa collaborated to construct a 150-room hotel and the adjoining Center for Advance Healthcare, an outpatient hospital at Brownwood. The hotel will serve the needs of business and personal travelers and provide medical hospitality for patients who are receiving treatment at the nearby hospital.

What was done and what were the results?
Both structures, the hotel and the hospital, reflect the overall theme of Brownwood, most especially the Floridian cowboy. Thematic patterns like the paisley of the cowboy’s bandana appear in various applications such as carpets and upholstery of the lobby furniture. The fusion of contemporary and traditional decorative elements from a broad range of styles resulted in an overall effect of a design that has evolved over time, recreating history in an instant.

The Main Lobby and the Lobby Bar, spaces easily accessible to the public, are liberally decorated with materials faithful to cowboy tradition. Wood and dark leather and fabrics are prominently visible expressing Native American weaving. The appearance of the horse blanket, and the hotel resemble a cattle brand familiar used as decors in numerous locations. In tandem with these rustic designs are elements of European grandeur such as blue and red velvets, formal millwork, crystal chandeliers and coffered ceilings. The luxury of European style has tempered the roughness of the frontier conveying the union of formality and the subdued.

The ceiling in the Main Lobby is coffered. It has a suspended ceiling with an accessible area for mechanical, plumbing, and electrical service. It is made of Ceilume thermoformed ceiling panels in a conventional T-bar suspension grid. The grid is set above millwork beams, making a kind of coffee-with-coffee effect that presents the chandeliers to maximum advantage. This design gives the room the impression of solid sustainability.  The other benefit derived is the practical advantages of an accessible ceiling With NRC acoustic control by putting the SoniGuard acoustic insulation above each panel.
A thermoformed ceiling was used to achieve a different traditional accent, that of the stamped metal ceiling was placed in the adjacent bar. A pattern in metallic Tin finish called Fleur-Des-Lis blended perfectly with the popular early 20th century ceiling material.  This gives a traditional counterbalance to the furnishings of the room which is decidedly contemporary.

In the Pre-Function Hall, the furniture is formal, but the ceiling is contemporary by the use of lacelike Victorian panels. The combination of bright, delicate ceiling pattern, the warm whites of the walls and carpet and the rich daylighting depicts an airiness and spacious grace to the hall.

The goal of the project was to make the newly constructed building appear as if it had been done many years ago. The mixture of contemporary and traditional designs made possible the completion of the desired edifice.

What products were involved?
  • Ceilume thermoformed ceiling panels
  • SoniGuard acoustic insulation
  • Serenity panels