Shelter Design Architecture Adds a Wellness Annex to Troutbeck Hotel in Amenia, New York

The volumes, one for fitness, the other a spa, are roofed in standing-seam aluminum and clad in larch reclaimed from a dismantled 1950s Hudson River bridge. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

“What drove me to start out on my own was 2016,” architect Jennifer Preston says dryly. “It marked an important internal shift for me as a woman in architecture.” She opened Shelter Design Architecture that same year and shortly after convinced Pedro Marmolejos, a former colleague at BKSK Architects, to come on as co-principal. Now a four-person team, they work remotely (and did so long before COVID-19), Marmolejos out of New York City and Preston in Vermont.

Shelter principals Pedro Marmolejos and Jennifer Preston. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

A wellness annex to Troutbeck—an Upstate New York hotel owned by Anthony Champalimaud, son of Interior Design Hall of Famer Alexandra—proved to be a project “encapsulating everything we stand for,” Preston
discloses. The bucolic site already had a wedding barn. Shelter added two similar structures—one taller, one
longer, totaling 4,800 square feet and joined by a covered breezeway—to house fitness and spa amenities. The interiors of the chapel-like volumes shift in scale and modulate in affect depending on function. Echoes

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MWAI designs London apartment as if it were a hotel suite

From a mini-fridge to a folding desk and a concealed make-up mirror, this compact London apartment designed by local firm MWAI features a variety of space-saving solutions.



a chair in a room: Folding desk in Mayfair pied-à-terre interior by Mwai


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Folding desk in Mayfair pied-à-terre interior by Mwai

Commissioned by a busy, professional client who works internationally, the architects were asked to transform a 37-square-metre, one-bedroom apartment in a Mayfair mansion block into a minimalist “pied-à-terre”.



a room filled with furniture and a large window: Top image: an open-plan area includes the kitchen, living room and workspace. Above: neutral colours were used throughout


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Top image: an open-plan area includes the kitchen, living room and workspace. Above: neutral colours were used throughout

“We thought accommodating sleeping, living, dining and working in a 37-square-metre apartment while also delivering the feel of a spacious interior was a very challenging brief,” said the practice.

“We decided we should not look at it like a residential project but rather like a hotel suite, where all functions are carefully and discreetly planned to provide a functional response to business and leisure travelling needs.”



a large wooden shelf: The apartment's built-in storage includes a folding desk


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The apartment’s built-in storage includes a folding desk

Finished in a palette of natural materials like wood and stone, the apartment features an abundance of bespoke, built-in storage.

According to MWAI, the main challenge was to maximise the limited amount

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Post-pandemic: How COVID-19 will change office, hotel and mixed-use design

As the U.S. enters the mass vaccination phase of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the physical threat of COVID-19 could soon be behind us. Those in the construction industry, however, will likely see reminders of the virus in their daily work for years to come through design and new building features meant to maintain social distance and create safer living and working environments.

Some of the biggest changes will be seen in spaces where people are most likely to congregate, including offices, hotels and multifamily spaces. Here, Construction Dive breaks down how each type of structure is likely to change due to COVID-19 miitgation strategies and what contractors need to know:

Offices: An emphasis on collaboration

After years of using an open plan design for new offices and conversions, said architect Brad Simmons, managing partner at KAI Enterprises, many office building owners could revert back to closed offices and cubicles but with an eye toward flexibility to accommodate potential temporary or permanent reductions in an on-site workforce.

But architect Lesley Braxton, principal at the Atlanta office of architectural and design firm Perkins+Will, doesn’t anticipate a major move away from collaboration-centered design just yet.

“I think everybody is thinking of the home

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Chicago hotel owners are holding out for a post-COVID comeback

“At the start of the pandemic there was just a lot more uncertainty than we have now. We’re at the point now where we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he says. “I think there’s a general perception that banks just punt on this stuff. And they don’t.”

Even if weary lenders eventually enact a financial reckoning on bad loans, discounts may not be as drastic because of the deep pool of buyers. Private real estate funds targeting opportunistic and distressed assets were sitting on nearly $125 billion ready to be deployed at the end of December, 50 percent more than the dry powder available at the end of 2010 coming out of the financial crisis, according to financial data tracker Preqin.

Those buyers and potential sellers agree travel will come back with a vengeance, but they’re not on the same page as to when or how bad their losses would be in the interim. That’s leaving a sizable gap between what either thinks hotels are worth today, says Jim Costello, senior vice president at RCA.

“If I’m an owner knowing that six months from now we may be back to normal . . . unless

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