AXIS Architecture + Design Unveils Their Latest Hotel Renovation Project – Aloft Sunnyvale
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (OCTOBER 23, 2015) – AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design STAFF WRITER –
Culminating a two-year renovation project for the hospitality real estate development firm Shashi Group, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design announced this month the completion of their most recent hotel renovation project – Aloft Sunnyvale. The completed project represents the second hotel AXIS has designed and overseen for Shashi Group.
Initially approached in late 2013, AXIS was first charged with advising Sashi Group on a modest and lean renovation of the 108 room wood frame Pacific Inn, originally built in 1968, and updated in 1986. The project goal was to update the look and feel of the property without spending more money on the renovation than necessary.
“Renovating hotels of this size and market profile is something of an expertise of ours,” states Cory Creath, one of AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design’s founders and Principal Architects. “When it comes to renovating a hotel of this age your options for how thorough and sophisticated your upgrades are is largely limited by your budget,” continues Creath. “The key to ensuring the budget doesn’t get unreasonable on a project like this is determining where updates will add to the property’s value the most, and where the guest experience is likely to get enhanced the most.”
Early in the project those updates included simple refurbishments of public and private spaces, as well as the minor reorganization of the hotel’s back-of-house spaces.
For the guest rooms, much of AXIS’ initially proposed updating focused on the oldest parts of the property – the 1968 wing. Rooms in that wing were enlarged, and modern guest bathrooms were added to each. In the 1986 wing, each room was updated with a completely redesigned bath featuring modern fixtures and tub-to-shower conversions. In both wings rooms were updated with hardwood flooring inspired by Silicon Valley’s modern and simple style, as well as with new and energy efficient air conditioning units.
In the hotel’s public spaces the original renovation plan included refreshed flooring, decorative light fixtures, and modern vinyl wall coverings throughout. The addition of a new bar to replace the aged and underutilized buffet compliments a new and inviting front desk. In response to the demands of Silicon Valley’s active millennial visitors, a new fitness center was added to the first floor. On the exterior, anachronistic decorative beams, planters, and canopies were removed and replaced with sleek and modern architectural features consistent with the modern style now flowing throughout the interior. Dramatic exterior lighting was added to enhance the hotel’s image in the community.
“What we started to accomplish with the originally planned modest renovation was proving to be transformative, but both Shashi and our team began to see the limitations the original budget was having,” states Creath. “Shashi is an entrepreneurial group that knows this segment well, and when they started to realize a limited renovation was leaving a lot of value out of the finished design, our teams made the decision to get a little more ambitious with the renovation and the budget,” Creath continued. “We may have been increasing the project’s original scope, but every additional cost was justified by the value it would ultimately add.”
Delivering Shashi’s more ambitious vision required modifying the hotel’s structure – a consideration originally left out of the initial renovation’s scope on account of its impact on the budget. In the lobby, the original one-story space was dramatically redesigned with the removal of a number of walls and the floor immediately above the entranceway. The result was a two-story lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows creating exposure and dramatic nighttime views into the hotel lobby bar. To bridge the outdoor and indoor spaces the lobby was extended to the updated rear courtyard, enhancing the lobby’s ambiance, but also creating a more efficient guest check-in/out experience. The larger and more open lobby also created new space for previously impossible retail opportunities.
Another value-added and guest-motivated addition to the scope included the opportunity to improve thermal and acoustical performance by installing all new dual glaze energy efficient windows. Updating life safety deficiencies – unanticipated until demolition was underway – also contributed to an increased scope and budget.
Recognizing that the additional scope had the potential to increase the budget and construction timeline significantly, AXIS sprang into action. “Whenever we could we sourced the most cost efficient materials,” describes Creath. As a result, much of the additional scope’s costs were offset with smart shopping. “We also had the opportunity to advise Shashi on more cost effective design alternatives. Case in point, Shashi wanted a gas fireplace – we were able to demonstrate that with the installation of an EcoSmart faux fireplace instead we could save tens of thousands of dollars while still providing the same final aesthetic,” states Creath. For Shashi Group, what had started as a minor refurbishment of Aloft Sunnyvale had evolved into a full-blown renovation. But with AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design’s oversight, the budget remained in check, and a prolonged renovation was avoided.
“Our original vision for the renovation was simple,” states Manish Gupta, who along with brother Dipesh Gupta co-founded Shashi Group in 2004. “Aloft Hotels are known for being modern, playful, and social spaces, and ultimately we wanted to deliver a brand and guest experience consistent with that reputation,” explained Gupta. “It became clear to us our original budget and approach would limit our ability to deliver what we had in mind for the Sunnyvale property. When we challenged AXIS to alter their design with our more ambitious vision, they came back with options on how we could maximize the impact of the renovation with as little impact on the budget and delivery schedule as possible,” Gupta explained. “It was a perfect example of agile architectural design, and doing more with less.”
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design Principal Architects Cory Creath, Shawn Alexander, and Rory Carroll credit the creative talents of the HBA interior design team led by Meghann Day for their assistance bringing the AXIS and Shashi Group vision to life. Credit also to DCI for structural engineering expertise, and SD Deacon for general contracting. For more on AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design’s renovation of Shashi Group’s Aloft Sunnyvale project, including images of the hotel renovation, visit www.axisonline.net/portfolios/renovation/aloft-sunnyvale/.
About AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design:
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design (www.axisonline.net) is a full-service architecture and design firm based in San Francisco, California. An all-industry firm, but noted leader in hospitality design, hotel architecture, and hospitality facility renovations, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design offers world-class iconic design that solves real-world architectural challenges.