Downtown Santa Monica Hotels / Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio + Gene Fong Associates


© John Edward Linden Photography

© John Edward Linden Photography
  • Executive Architect: Gene Fong Associates
  • Interior Design: Studio HBA
  • Lighting Design: Illuminate
  • General Contractor: Lusardi Construction
  • Structural Engineer: Englekirk Structural Engineers
  • Mechanical And Plumbing Engineer: Hellman & Lober
  • Electrical Engineer : OMB Electrical Engineers, Inc.
  • Civil Engineer & Surveyor: Psomas
  • Leed Commissioning: Engineering Economics
  • Pool Design: AquaDesign

© John Edward Linden Photography

© John Edward Linden Photography

From the architect. The process of designing two new hotels at 5th Street and Colorado Avenue in downtown Santa Monica, a site that serves as a vital entry point into the City, presented unique challenges. Such a prominent location – both a gateway to the City and just blocks away from popular attractions like the famed Santa Monica Pier and 3rd Street Promenade – meant that not just any designs would do. The new hotels would not only have to meet the highest of aesthetic design standards, but they would also have to work within the City’s multi-modal transportation network. 


© John Edward Linden Photography

© John Edward Linden Photography

Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio (GP-US) was hired to provide a design tailored to the City that would incorporate a sensitive urban design and pedestrian approach to inform the buildings’ orientation and character. Gene Fong Associates served as the Executive Architect on the project.


© John Edward Linden Photography

© John Edward Linden Photography

While both structures share some design traits – such as their interior courts that provide for daylight, cross-ventilation, and general interest shops for hotel patrons – it was important that each have its own identity. The orange metal panels on the Courtyard by Marriott give the hotel its dramatic presence, while slight color variation within the panels adds texture, rhythm, and dynamism. A cantilevered pool deck sits just over the main entrance on the second floor, giving guests a unique view of the adjacent Metro station. The large cut out created by the second floor deck creates a dynamic change of view for passing train riders and pedestrians. 


© John Edward Linden Photography

© John Edward Linden Photography

At the street level of the Marriott, the primary pedestrian entrance to the hotel is located in the middle of the block and the hotel has been designed to open up to pedestrians as they come off the popular Expo Line. The corner has been given a strong presence by bringing the building down to the edge of the sidewalk, and the storefront has been set back to allow for a widened sidewalk that could accommodate outdoor seating as well as providing for a gracious pedestrian environment.


Site / Ground Floor Plan

Site / Ground Floor Plan

The Hampton Inn & Suites, with its sea foam green tower, makes a striking contrast to its neighbor across the street. This juxtaposition was purposeful, with the green Hampton meant to symbolize the ocean and the Marriott representing the land. The glass curtain wall of the Hampton along Colorado Avenue gives the structure a strong presence, while the entrance has been set back from the street and designed to be as open and transparent as possible. One of the effects is the activation of the street corner, thus extending the esplanade that passes in front of the neighboring Marriott and terminates on the other end at the famed Santa Monica Pier.


© Christine Gatti/Dylan Cross

© Christine Gatti/Dylan Cross

© Christine Gatti/Dylan Cross

© Christine Gatti/Dylan Cross

© Christine Gatti/Dylan Cross

© Christine Gatti/Dylan Cross

 In a true exercise of urban design, our firm has actively maintained the theme of the urban fabric and designed two buildings that not only respond to one another, but integrate the neighboring community, the Metro Line, and the existing architectural aesthetic already present in Santa Monica.


© John Edward Linden Photography

© John Edward Linden Photography

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