Designed by Specht Architects, Carpenter Hotel is a new hotel building located in Austin, Texas, US. This hotel is nestled into a pecan grove between the Barton Springs swimming hole and downtown, a hidden oasis in one of the last pockets of Old Austin. The building design is driven by a sense of place and composed of an exposed rough-concrete frame.
This hotel sits in a compound of buildings of different vintages surrounding a tree-shaded courtyard and pool. It features an event pavilion, cafe, restaurant, and 93 guest rooms. Carpenter Hotel has a character unlike any other hotel in town. The design comes from a desire to create something that natural to its city, neighborhood, and location.
The idea of the design comes from the adaptive re-use that doesn’t mimic what is existing or creating a clear line between the “new” and the “old”. It is an approach that merges all parts of the building into a collage with an authentic feeling and without any effort.
On the site, all of the original heritage pecan trees are preserved and incorporated into the building design. On the site, the existing “mid-century-utilitarian” union hall for Carpenter’s Local 1266 is re-purposed as the restaurant and lobby with minimal changes.
The Quonset-hut-based pavilion, shade canopies, and the new hotel building offer a new and distinct architectural expression but the materials and the forms are perfect with the other industrial buildings and the existing union hall. All of them fit together seamlessly.
Composed of an exposed rough-concrete frame, the new hotel building also has infill walls made of locally-sourced clay masonry blocks and recycled steel oil-drilling pipe. The trees have to be removed, the pecan wood is sawn into boards and it is used as lobby and restaurant’s feature elements. The materials have a decorative effect and expressed as-is.
The decorative effect is created through the patterning and spacing of basic elements or by the signage direct application. There is no attempt to follow the architectural trends or to mimic historic styles. This project is direct and simple with power comes from straightforward expression.
The Carpenter Hotel Gallery
Photographer: Chase Daniel