The Domain, a high-density business, retail and residential center is located in the high-tech corridor of Northwest Austin, TX. In that area is the up-and-coming Rock Rose section that is becoming one of Austin’s newest hotspots. Sitting within the Rock Rose district is the Archer Hotel, which packs a significant amount of upscale style into its eight-story, 171-guest room building. At the center of the boutique hotel’s design is Crossville’s Reclamation porcelain tile collection — furnishing most surfaces, including those in the guest rooms, baths and elevator halls, as well as on the building’s exterior. The collection was chosen because the tiles answered aesthetic and performance challenges that are common in the hospitality sector.
One of the challenges in designing the Archer Hotel was to find alternatives to carpet in the guest rooms. In large hotel brands, luxury vinyl tile has been the most utilized alternative, but Linda Ehlen and the rest of the team at LK Architecture wanted to go with something different. “We have been trying to reduce the amount of carpet that we use; the tile gave us a very good alternative,” said Ehlen. “We wanted a porcelain tile that was durable and easily cleanable, yet gave the visual impression of the warmth of wood.” For the project, a total of 25,000 square feet of Reclamation porcelain tile was used — 19,000 square feet of it was in 12- x 24-inch format, 3,500 square feet in 6- x 24-inch pieces and 2,200 square feet in custom 3- x 3-inch mosaics.
While the design team configured the guest room flooring with carpet installed directly under and extending about 12 inches around the beds, beyond that the rest of the flooring in the space comprises tile. To ensure that the mix of flooring material would not pose a tripping hazard at transition zones — a serious concern in public spaces — Ehlen paid careful attention to the material heights. “We knew what the height of the carpet and pad should be based on the porcelain tile specs,” said Ehlen. “Then we added in a Schluter transition strip to help make the transition between the two materials smoother.”
The use of porcelain tile offers a host of practical benefits with regard to ease of maintenance, simplicity of cleaning and product lifecycle. If wine was to be spilled on the carpet, it would mean a longer process of cleaning with machines and chemicals, with the possibility of the carpet needing to be replaced. In contrast, clean up of a wine spill on porcelain tile requires only a rag or mop to return the floor to its original quality. Porcelain tile can also be dusted or swept with great speed and minimal machinery, meaning that the Archer’s rooms are easily cleaned and refreshed, a timesaver for housekeeping staff. This enables the Archer to make more efficient use of its cleaning resources, as well as offer greater flexibility with regard to guest check-in.
In addition to the use of the Reclamation tile in the guest rooms, Crossville’s large-format Laminam porcelain tile panels were specified to skin the walls of the high-traffic elevator hall areas, locations that see significant abuse due to both luggage and cleaning carts. While hotel hallways typically protect the bottom inches of the wall with a wall base, Laminam’s oversized-format allows for expansive coverage, giving the walls more defense and ensuring that the interior of the Archer will remain beautiful for longer.
For the outside of the hotel, the architecture and design team also turned to Crossville products. A custom color was selected in a popular wood-look aesthetic. The tile is enhanced with the proprietary Cross-Sheen technology, an invisible, integrated finish, which makes the facade resistant to scuffs and stains, as well as graffiti.
The Archer Hotel
Architect: LK Architecture, Wichita, KS