The South End Landmark District Commission (SELDC) Hotel Alexandra subcommittee met on September 10, following the full Commission’s approval of the project in concept on September 7.
“Our intention is not to start over,” said Commissioner John Freeman told the design team. “By accepting this in concept we are also accepting a lot of the decisions you’ve made.”
The purpose of these subcommittee meetings is to allow the SELDC to be involved in the design process as it evolves over time until a final design is settled upon. “We’ll probably meet several times and look at the Alexandra and the new construction,” Freeman said.
At this particular meeting, the design team mainly discussed the material palette for the hotel. Architect David Nagahiro of CBT Architects said that they chose materials for the tower that allow the existing historic building to be “much more prominent.”
“Glass is the most important material that we are going to select,” he added, going into more detail about the specific mullion they chose for in between the panes of glass. The western side of the building will feature darker glass on a portion of it “to give it some character with the panel difference,” the team said.
The team also discussed lighting the building at night, which is early in the process right now but they hope to illuminate specific details on the Hotel Alexandra, and have light fixtures that will graze up the building. They said the conduits for the lighting will be hidden, but some of the fixtures will be exposed. Resident Lloyd Fillion said that he hopes the lighting will be subtle to be respectful to neighbors’ homes.
Commissioner Freeman brought up the fact that other buildings in the South End have some sort of cornice line, but the design team said that the proposal for the Alexandra has a “sliced off” aspect instead of wrapping the molding around the corner of the building exists because that is what is there now.
There was some other discussion about the materiality of the project and what people hope to see from it, including that it appear high quality and have texture that will bring that corner back to life.
Commissioner Freeman said that he hopes to have a subcommittee meeting at the property in the near future to examine worn or deteriorated materials in person. He also said that the next subcommittee meeting should be focused on these preservation elements. The subcommittee will continue to have publicly open meetings to discuss these types of design details.