Icon of Brutalist Architecture Aims to Be the First Net-Zero Luxury Hotel in the U.S.A.

Scheduled to open Spring 2022, the 110,000-square-foot 165 room Tapestry Collection by Hilton property will be a fully sustainable historic hotel.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
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a tall building in a city
Photo Source: Becker + Becker

Designed in 1967 by Marcel Breuer as a commercial office building, the Armstrong Rubber Building located in New Haven, Conn., is being converted into a sustainable luxury hotel by architect and developer Bruce Becker, FAIA.

The upcycled modern landmark shall deploy some of the latest technologies available in order to achieve the highest energy efficiency standards, including LEED Platinum and Passive House certifications. 

The hotel is on track to become the first net-zero emissions hotel in the U.S.A., based on certifications from LEED and the New Buildings Institute.

Scheduled to open Spring 2022, the 110,000-square-foot 165 room Tapestry Collection by Hilton property will be a fully sustainable historic hotel

Repurposing the landmark property as a sustainable luxury hotel was a priority for Becker + Becker

Becker sought out the expertise of design, build & integration firm Sinclair Digital because of their past work at the Sinclair Hotel where a 1930s Art Deco property was converted into another sustainable luxury hospitality environment.

graphical user interface
Photo Source: Pat Krupa

“As stewards of an important work of architecture by a legendary mid-century modern master, we had a responsibility to preserve and restore its significant architectural details. We also had both an economic and environmental mandate to use the most advanced technologies to reduce energy use, while at the same time enhancing the guest experience,” explained Bruce Becker

Systems related items that contributed heavily towards efficiency savings and/or created a better guest room experience included power-over-ethernet lighting and motorized window treatments, digital electricity DC power distribution, battery energy storage, VRF air conditioning, triple glazed windows, on premise solar, in room touch screens for HVAC, shades and lighting scenes, and more.

“Low voltage DC power is the strong foundation or nervous system that is necessary to construct sustainable intelligent buildings. There is not a more efficient and sustainable way to transport and power devices in a building and is by far the best way to get closer to Net Zero,” noted Hannah Walker of Sinclair Digital.

Combined with high efficiency heat pumps, triple-glazed windows, and low voltage power-over-ethernet wiring for the lighting, the building cuts down the total electricity it needs and uses solar panels and a one megawatt battery to provide the supply. Becker says they'll pay for themselves through energy savings within a few years.



The property’s design is a collaboration between Becker + Becker, project architect, and New York City-based interior design and branding studio Dutch East Design, founded by visionaries Larah Moravek, Dieter Cartwright and William Oberlin. Dutch East Design was engaged to design Hotel Marcel’s visual identity and interior design. 

“It is a rare opportunity to be offered such an iconic structure to reimagine into a hotel,'' said Larah Moravek, co-founder, Dutch East Design. “We wanted to honor the distinct architecture and celebrate the building in all its glory. We took an intentional position to allow the interiors to be the soft underbelly of the Brutalist exoskeleton.”

Hotel Marcel will be operated by Chesapeake Hospitality and join Tapestry Collection by Hilton, an upscale portfolio of more than 70 handpicked, original hotels. Hotel Marcel will re-introduce the public to the raw beauty and strength of brutalism with the building’s architecture leading the narrative and a less is more approach for the interior design. Upon arrival, guests are met by a palette of warm earth tones with a textural buildup of stone finishes, found in the custom wood reception desk, and eye-catching terra cotta in a Cle Tile feature wall, complimented by custom lighting designed by Dutch East. An existing depressed floorplate on the North end will be made into a sunken lounge that works as the lobby lounge as well as pre-function space should the pivot doors open up from the forum and function spaces, allowing hotel guests to meander and discover various seating vignettes. The furniture, carpets, area rugs and lighting are custom designed by Dutch East Design, deploying Bauhaus inspired patterning throughout all the textiles. The historic ceiling has been reinstated to respond to the interior layout, providing an open plane of intersecting ceiling tiles that accommodate the reimagined original architectural lighting system with new custom faceted acrylic lens panels.

Hotel Marcel New Haven, Tapestry Collection by Hilton is also part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton's 18 world-class brands. Members who book directly through the preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Hilton Honors Points and money to book a stay, free standard Wi-Fi and an exclusive member discount that can't be found anywhere else. Members also enjoy popular digital tools available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors mobile app where Hilton Honors members can check-in, choose their room and access their room using a Digital Key.