San Francisco architects AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design celebrate summer with some team building at their 2017 Summer Beach Picnic.


Regular visitors to AXIS/GFA’s blog are likely already familiar with the fact that our teams like to have a little fun.  With the notable increase in the number of hotel architecture and multi-family architecture projects AXIS/GFA has been working on since our merg…

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Members of AXIS/GFA's Los Angeles team celebrate the opening of their latest hotel architecture project the Courtyard by Marriott Santa Monica and the Hampton Inn & Suites Santa Monica.


As executive architects on the project, and led by AXIS/GFA’s Los Angeles-based architectural design team, AXIS/GFA yesterday joined representatives from OTO Development and executives from Marriott Hotels and Hilton Hotels at the grand opening of two of AXIS/GF…

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“Please stand by…” – Embracing uncertainty at ALIS 2017

By Cory Creath, Principal Architect at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design

At the end of January a small contingent of AXIS staffers and I attended the 2017 installment of the A…

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In late September several members of the AXIS Architecture + Design team and I joined over 1,600 fellow hospitality industry leaders at the 2016 Lodging Conference. Regular readers of our On The AXIS Blog will no doubt recall that The Lodging Conference is a highly anticipated event on AXIS’ annual event calendar - and for a number of reasons. First off, the 2016 event marked the third consecutive year I was invited to speak as an expert panelist at the conference. Participating on the “Repositioning Your Hotel for Success” panel moderated by Russell C. Savrann, Partner at Sandman Savrann PLLC, the session fostered some amazing discussion on the design and business considerations for repositioning hotels from segment to segment or brand to brand. As well, the 2016 event marked the second year AXIS hosted a welcome reception leading into Tuesday evening’s marquee social festivities and signature pool party. With compelling conversation over canapes and cocktails, it was a pleasure bringing together many of the hospitality industry’s most influential personalities. Our thanks to everyone who was able to join us. But perhaps the most irresistible reason the AXIS leadership team was anticipating this year’s Lodging Conference was on account of the event’s reputation for forecasting the future health of the industry with uncanny accuracy. As close followers of the industry can tell you, 2016 has been a year of mixed signals; guest-side indicators continue to demonstrate bullish performance while at the same time corporate-side indicators strongly suggest this recent boom cycle’s peak is likely behind us. With 2016 continuing to demonstrate the uncertainty the industry endured throughout 2015 - during which the end of the current cycle was already being predicted - the AXIS team and I were very much looking forward to gaining some clarity as to what to expect in 2017. “Enjoy the ride” Unfortunately, for those attendees looking forward to a concrete assessment as to what to expect in the coming quarters, the 2016 Lodging Conference wasn’t ready to commit one way or the other. Perhaps the clearest signal of that reticence was the conference’s unofficial theme. Each year, The Lodging Conference captures the prevailing sentiment in the hospitality industry in a brief statement that serves as the central theme for the event; this year, in an almost teasingly tongue-in-cheek nod to the admission that the fate of this cycle was still in the air, the conference adopted the theme, “Enjoy the ride”. Whether “enjoying the ride” meant capitalizing on the opportunities the coming quarters would present, or if it meant holding-on while the rollercoaster finally crested the highest peak was entirely dependent on what indicators you paid attention to. Consumer spending and guest fundamentals remain solid… As speakers on the conference’s A View From The C-Suite keynote session were quick to point out, if one were to gauge the health of the industry solely based on consumer spending it would be safe to assume the current growth cycle is alive and well. In fact, as Steve Hennis, VP of Consulting and Analytics at STR pointed out, July 2016 saw the highest demand for occupancy ever. Undeniably, the juggernaut of the current cycle has slowed somewhat with increases in RevPAR less impressive than they have been in recent years (apologetically receding to historical norms near $80), but on the aggregate, consumer fundamentals continue to show steady growth. As far as anyone at The Lodging Conference was willing to guess, the prevailing sentiment was that current growth would continue for the foreseeable future. …but industry indicators hint at trouble to come While consumers with their spending appear willing to do their part to keep the current growth cycle humming, the industry itself seems less willing. As Adam Lair, Managing Director at HVS captured it with his input on the A View From The C-Suite panel, “We’ve had this dramatic dislocation between the transaction market and what’s actually going on in underlying hotel fundamentals.” Of those transaction market indicators that start to raise flags is the 52% drop in transaction volume year-over-year. REITS have largely retreated from active development, and with many funds trading below asset value many are much less willing to consider significant transactions. To mirror the recent and monumental Marriott-Starwood merger, an increasing portion of transactions are mergers and acquisitions of properties as opposed to new developments, a signal that suggests developers are hesitant to initiate new projects until clearer signals prevail. Supply remains strained with 180,000 keys currently under development, with an anticipated 250,000 in the pipeline in the coming year. The continuing decrease in credit appetite looks to continue to challenge the market’s appetite for increased supply, and is likely to continue to strip even more momentum from the current cycle. External influences may sway the balance As Oxford Economics’ Aran Ryan’s input on The View From The C-Suite panel suggests, much of the uncertainty on the current cycle may lie in influences out of the industry’s control. With the fallout from Brexit still yet to be seen, the November election likely to influence credit markets for at least a number of quarters, the continuing threat of China’s credit exposure in the industry increasingly vulnerable to global influences, and the threat of interest rate increases hinging on a number of unpredictable factors, perhaps the fate of the current cycle is yet to be determined. Curiously, in the weeks following The Lodging Conference, Hilton adjusted their RevPAR expectations for Q3 2016 by roughly 50% from ~4% to a concerningly low ~1.5%, that despite STR’s prediction of a 5% RevPAR across the industry for the coming quarters. Perhaps this is exactly what The Lodging Conference meant with their suggestion, or warning, that we “enjoy the ride.”

“The end of the cycle is near…but this time we think we mean it.” – Reading the signals at Lodging Conference 2016

By Cory Creath, Principal Architect at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design

In late September several members of the AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design team and I joined over 1,600 fellow hospitality industry leaders at the…

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AXIS Architecture + Design hotel and hospitality architects project announcement.


With groundbreaking late last month, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is pleased to announce construction has commenced on one of the firm’s latest hotel architectural design projects – the Courtyard by Marriott in Santa Cruz, California.

October 20, 2016
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AXIS Principal Architect Cory Creath participating as a panelist at the Lodging Conference 2015.


By Cory Creath, Principal Architect at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design

Later this afternoon I’ll once again have the honor of participating as an expert panelist at one of the most anticipated events on the hospi…

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The small size of a Citizen M room; hotel architecture responding to market needs. AXIS Architecture + Design hotel architects.

The Top 3 Take-Aways From NYU’s 2016 International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference

By Cory Creath, Principal Architect at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design

Image: The sub-200 square foot Citizen M room. Photo credit to

Earlier in June I had the p…

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AXIS Architecture + Design project announcement


AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design, noted North American hotel and hospitality architectural firm, is pleased to announce it’s been retained by Jai Jinendra Investments LLC for the renovation and repositioning of the Comfort Inn Hotel located at 3945 El Camino Real in P…

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Opening of the 2016 NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, attended by San Francisco based hotel architectural firm AXIS Architecture + Design

“Differentiation, consolidation, and preparing for the end of the cycle” – Three themes to expect at NYU’s 2016 International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference

By Cory Creath, Principal Architect at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design

Image: Opening of the 2016 NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference. Photo credit to

This week, I once again headed to New York for this year’s presentation of the

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AXIS Architecture + Design, leaders in hotel and hospitality design and renovation, comments on

The “Super Bowl Effect” On Hotel Development – Can a One-time Event Drive Hotel Investment and Development?

By Cory Creath, Principal Architect at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design

Image: Inside Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco, Michael Short, special to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Super Bowl 50, co-hoste…

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AXIS Architecture + Design, leaders in hotel and hospitality design and renovation, taking in The Americas Lodging Investment Summit keynote session

An Architect’s Perspective – The 3 Hospitality Development Opportunities Highlighted at ALIS 2016

By Cory Creath, Principal Architect at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design

Image: The Americas Lodging Investment Summit 2016 keynote session, “Where’s the Peak?”, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design archives.

In late January, members …

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The First Thanksgiving

How Thanksgiving Has Influenced American Architecture

There’s little doubt Thanksgiving is a significant feature of contemporary American culture – one only needs to look at the seemingly evermore frequent record numbers of people travelling home the fourth week of November to recognize America’s reverence for the …

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Best Western Hotels' New Logo

AXIS Observation: Best Western’s New Boutique Brand GLo – A Direct Response to Aloft Hotel’s Success?

Last month, mid-market hotel giant Best Western International announced at its annual convention the top-down rebranding and repositioning of their entire …

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UCSF at Mission Student Housing architectural project

We won! AXIS Architecture + Design wins Architecture At Zero’s Zero Net Energy Design Competition

Judged by a distinguished panel of architecture, engineering, and design experts, and selected ahead of 30 other professional and student designs, The American Institute of Architecture, California Council, and October 27, 2015

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AXIS Architecture and Design hotel architecture project Hyatt Embarcadero lobby fins

AXIS Design in the Wild: Hyatt Embarcadero’s Unique Seating “Fins”

AXIS Design in the Wild: As the architect of record for the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero hotel renovation project, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design worked with Chicago-based interior designers Looney & Associates on the creation of the hotel’s unique atrium seating “fins.” With the goal of c…

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Jiamin Liang AXIS Architecture + Design Junior Designer

AXIS Welcomes Jiamin Liang To The Junior Design Team

AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is pleased to announce the addition of their newest team member, Jiamin Liang.  Joining AXIS as a Junior Designer, Jiamin is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design’s Master of Architecture Program.  With previous international architectura…

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Rory Carroll, Principal of AXIS Architecture + Design

Congratulations Rory! Rory Carroll Joins AXIS Architecture + Design’s Team of Principals

By AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design Staff Writer

AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is pleased to announce long-time team member and design practitioner Rory Carroll as the newest partner of the noted hospitality and multi-family architectural firm. Rory now joins …

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Quail Lodge Executive Villa interior, a hospitality architectural project by AXIS Architecture + Design

Examining the Economics of Residence Hotel Development

By Cory Creath, Principal Architect at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design

Image: AXIS designed Quail Lodge Executive Villa, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design archives.

Earlier this week June 29, 2015

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AXIS Architecture + Design at NYU Hospitality

“Everything is amazing!” and other challenges in hotel development – Thoughts on NYU Hospitality 2015

By Cory Creath, Principal Architect at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design

Image: courtesy of Debra Rothenberg/NYU-SCPS Tisch Center,

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of representing AXIS/GFA Architecture + Des…

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AXIS Architecture + Design, leaders in commercial and hospitality architectural design, launch their new website at

AXIS Architecture + Design Launches Its New Website

With a fresh new focus featuring the iconic imagery of our architectural design, the team at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is extremely proud to announce the launch of our new website, now live at Nearly half a year in development, the new site’…

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