Awards of Excellence 2018
Hotels at the Wharf

Hotels at the Wharf
Award of Excellence
Best Hospitality Project

Project Team

Hoffman-Madison Waterfront - (Owner / Manager)
Smithgroup - (Architect)
A. Morton Thomas and Associates
SK&A - (Structural Engineer)
Allen & Shariff - (MEP Engineer)

Executive Summary

The dual-branded hotel at The Wharf is an integral part of a two-phase, 24-acre development on Washington, DC’s Washington Channel, a long-neglected stretch of the Potomac River waterfront. Phase 1 of this $2.5 billion mixed-use development includes the design for two hotel brands sharing one dynamic building.

This 300,000-square-foot, nine-story building creatively intertwines street-level retail, dining and entertainment and a second-level public rooftop courtyard with two unique hotels offering distinct interior environments and guest experiences. The building is comprised of a 237-key Hyatt House extended stay hotel and a 175-key Canopy by Hilton—the debut of the lifestyle brand in North America, and only the second worldwide.

While the two are managed by a single operator and share back-of-house space, from a guest perspective, they function as two separate hotels. To reinforce each brand’s respective identity, the building was designed with separate arrival experiences, lobbies and circulation within each hotel’s tower.

The connecting hyphen between the two lobbies houses shared amenities, meeting spaces, outdoor event spaces and a fitness center in a ‘brand neutral’ zone that serves as an extended threshold, facilitating a smooth transition from one hotel to the other.

However, the hotels are not completely isolated. A variety of public and private spaces are available for guests to discover and explore. The central courtyard serves as a shared public plaza featuring a variety of seating, terraces, fire pits, a water feature and an event space, all with exceptional views of the marina and piers.

The project is also contextually relevant thanks to intentional references to the site’s current and past uses. The design is influenced by the nautical architecture of the structures and ships along the water’s edge and the masonry warehouses that once defined the formerly industrial area. Though the turn-of-the-century buildings that drove commerce here are long gone, subtle cues - including teak decking, stainless steel rigging, and the use of water, sunlight and reflection as design elements—evoke the location’s maritime history.

The building mass floats serenely above a solid masonry plinth of ironspot brick, and the hotel’s form is accented by a sawtooth façade on the primary elevation, designed as an abstraction of sails on the masts of schooners and tall ships. This serrated façade serves as a bold, modern gesture that redefines the interior experience in the hotel corridors and guest rooms.

In addition to honoring the location’s past, the design takes care to ensure a sustainable future - a priority for both the hotel brands and the entire development. To maximize results, the design team sought synergies between sustainability goals and efforts that would positively impact guest satisfaction. For example, the design team simultaneously boosted energy efficiency for the building envelope while addressing strict acoustic requirements for guest rooms.

Additionally, the extensive use of vegetated roofs provides outdoor space for the public and guests while reducing the heat island effect and facilitating stormwater retention. Rainwater is captured in a site-wide cistern and deployed for landscaping irrigation and water features. The project exceeded its original sustainability goals and has been awarded with both LEED for New Construction and LEED for Neighborhood Development Gold Certifications.
Hotels at the Wharf


Signature Sponsor:
Clark Construction Company

Platinum Sponsors:
Brandywine Realty Trust  |   Glass Jacobson  |   The Tower Companies  |   Trammell Crow Company  |   Whiting-Turner

Gold Sponsors:
Akridge  |   Altus Group  |   The Bernstein Companies  |   Bohler Engineering  |   Brookfield  |   CBRE  |   The Chevy Chase Land Company  |   Chicago Title Insurance Company  |   Coakley Williams Construction  |   Cooper Carry  |   Danak  |   EDG2  |   Grosvenor  |   Grunley  |   JBG Smith  |   LCOR  |   Linowes & Blocher LLP  |   MetLife  |   National Building Museum  |   Penzance  |   Powers Brown Architecture  |   RCM&D  |   The RMR Group  |   Ruppert Properties  |   Transwestern  |   US Bank  |   Washington Gas  |   Washington Property Company