A modern reopening with stone
The 55-floor, 561-room Millenium Hilton hotel, located in Manhattan, was severely damaged in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the city. Soon afterwards, Stonehill & Taylor Architects of New York, was retained to redesign and renovate the interior and exterior of the hotel. Brennan Beer Gorman Monk/Interiors (BBGM) of New York, was commissioned as the interior design consultants.
"Basically, there was $30 million worth of damage done to the hotel," explained Paul Taylor, partner at Stonehill & Taylor. "That cost repre-sented replacing about 1,500 windows and replacing every finish in the building. The steel from the World Trade Center did most of the damage, and the stone took the onslaught.
"Construction began in October 2001, because the area was cordoned off by military. It took a while to enclose the building, but once it was, it was closed off until July 2002. During that time, the glass curtainwall was repaired, and the exterior was rebuilt."
The exterior renovation also included the introduction of a raised black granite platform, with wide steps leading up to a new canopy. "The canopy was crushed," said Taylor. "We rebuilt that because it wasn't up to code standards."
Polished Atlantic Black granite was chosen for the stone under canopy. "We were able to justify a whole new design to bring it to current code," said Taylor. "We flattened the canopy, and added stone piers and a handicap ramp, and it integrated with the original design."
The Atlantic Black granite was fabricated in Canada by A. Lacroix et Fils Granit Lt'ee, supplied by G.M. Crocetti of the Bronx, NY, and also used for other elements of the exterior. The exterior base walls were clad in polished 15?inch-thick granite; the wall caps were 4-inch-thick polished granite; the plaza floor paving was thermal-finished and 2 inches thick; and the floor paving under the revolving door was 2-inch-thick granite, in thermal and honed finishes.
G.M. Crocetti, commissioned by construction manager Bovis Lend Lease of New York, installed the exterior stone. "The vertical stone at the plaza walls was installed with a conventional stone installation method; each stone was mechanically fastened to the masonry back up wall with stainless steel anchors," said Narresh Shekhada of G.M. Crocetti Inc. "The plaza paving stones were installed on a mudset mortar bed."
Two to six workers installed the stonework, which was done in phases. "We did exterior stone first, and that was done over about a three-month period," said Michael Deane of Bovis Lend Lease. "There were all sorts of coordination issues with other trades. We had to wait for the concrete deck to be poured, then for the curtainwall to be finished before we could install the stone."
For the interior design, BBGM coordinated the exterior paving with the interior by using a similar granite -- Cambrian Black. The stone paving sweeps into the main lobby and leads to the front desk. The lobby floor stone is 3?inches thick, sandblasted and polished, fabricated by Polycor/Granite Bussiere in Saint-Sebastien (Quebec) Canada and supplied by G.M. Crocetti. The interior stone installation took three weeks, and was done in a mud bed.
Bovis Lend Lease helped to match the Cambrian Black with the existing interior stone. "We were matching new stone to existing stone so the exterior would flow into the interior," said Deane. "We studied the interior stone and brought a ton of samples. Narresh, from G.M. Crocetti, worked on the original installation, so he had some knowledge that helped the investigation.
"We found Cambrian Black and had to match the finish with the existing floor. The lobby had honed, polished and flamed finishes, which all looked different but was the same stone. It was challenging, but it looks beautiful, so it was worth it."
In addition to the flooring, there was also an opportunity for a new lobby bar. "We wanted to create a light and contemporary bar," said Jakubowski. "We didn't want to keep black everywhere, so we used Bronzino granite for the top of the bar."
The bar itself rests on the black granite floor, and is lightened up with Bronzino's copper flecks. The Bronzino granite for the bar top -- also used for the reception desktops - was supplied by Hindustan Marble Pvt. Ltd. in, India, and the fabrication and finishing was done at G. M. Crocetti's marble shop. It was installed by being glued to wood sub tops, according to Deane.
Onyx wall panels, supplied by Stone Source in New York, further enhanced the bar. "We backlit the tiny space, by creating backdoors into the storage passage area," said Jakubowski. "Series of 2- x 4-inch fluorescent bulbs gave it enough depth and even light so there are no hot spots. We picked a green onyx with a lot of veining and character to it, because we didn't want it flat. The bar before was underutilized, so we gave it a sense of a solid bar/lounge area, which creates more of a bar atmosphere."
The onyx back bar was 3?inch dimensional stone, cut into panels. "We installed it as one big slab, set onto millwork frames, then backlit the whole thing," said Deane. "It was a little tricky, so we were careful, and it came out to be a really pretty piece."
To further brighten up the lobby, BBGM also added new lighting elements, in order to update the existing wood. The furniture was updated to be more contemporary. Rooms in the hotel were also modernized with new amenities and furniture.
Since the reopening of the hotel in June 2003, it has been a success. "Everybody loves it," said Jakubowski.
Taylor concurred, adding that the goal for the hotel had been met. "The design goal was for it not to look exactly like it was before," said Taylor. "It had been a successful hotel previously, but the owners didn't want it exactly the way it was, because that would have been sad. Instead, they wanted a new, improved atmosphere, with a continued sense of quality."
End BoxArchitect: Stonehill & Taylor, New York, NY
Millenium Hilton Hotel -- New York, NY
Interior Designers: Brennan Beer Gorman Monk/Interiors, New York, NY; Arnold Syrop Associates Design, New York, NY (restaurant)
General Contractor: Bovis Lend Lease, Inc., New York, NY
Stone Supplier/Fabricator/Installer: G.M. Crocetti, Inc., Bronx, NY
Stone Suppliers: Stone Source, New York, NY; Hindustan Marble Pvt. Ltd., India
Stone Fabricators: A. Lacroix et Fils Granit Lt'ee, Canada; Polycor/Granite Bussiere, Saint-Sebastien (Quebec) Canada