Cubellis announced that the firm has completed work on Hotel Felix, Chicago's first hotel designed to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Originally designed in 1926, the former Hotel Wacker has given way to the redeveloped Hotel Felix, suitably positioned in one of the nation's leading "green" cities. The property now boasts an innovative, eco-friendly boutique hotel with efficiencies and key design elements inspired by natural elements, while lessening environmental impact. Additionally, the 12-story eco-friendly boutique hotel features a lobby bar overlooking a quiet neighborhood, an Asha wellness spa, three small conference rooms, and comfortable guest rooms with sophisticated details and outfitted with top-of-the-line technology. The hotel's restaurant, Elate, will open in summer 2009 and feature eclectic American cuisine.
"This was an exciting design project because the facility was not only refurbished to accommodate the discerning eco-friendly traveler, but subsequently provides all new sustainable services for the hotel staff as well," said David R. LaPlaca, AIA, Associate, Architecture at Cubellis. "It was amazing to see how when we started removing the old windows and miscellaneous masonry infill to recreate the original terra cotta frames openings, how light flooded the ground floor lobby and restaurant, creating a dynamic environment for everyone! Even the basement, designed to contain the hotel offices, a new data center, and laundry facilities for the hotel, was transformed with the addition of an employee lounge equipped with locker rooms and showers. Bike storage is provided in the basement for employees who ride to work, and a recycling room was also provided to support the hotels extensive recycling program. The hotel is a testament to exceptional design and is a well thought-out space that keeps everyone feeling connected to sustainability, without sacrificing the luxe appeal of the property."
Gettys provided interior design, procurement, and program management services for the hotel. "Designing for LEED certification is an important capability in our practice," says Michael Maurer, AIA, Principal with Gettys. "Working closely with Cubellis, the project engineers and the Owner, we were able to identify the cost and benefit to the hotel of every LEED point and allow the Owner to make highly informed decisions. In the end, we created an upscale design that is warm, clean, and contemporary, where guests can feel environmentally responsible and not sacrifice any luxury in doing so."
The hotel's LEED-related features include in-room motion sensors to control the thermostat, allowing the heating and cooling to automatically adjust based upon the guests use of the room, installation of recycled products in everything from artwork to fabrics and surfaces, flooring and wall coverings. Organic materials, renewable resources, and energy efficient plumbing, heating and air conditioning add to the benefits. Recycled materials, low-emitting paints, carpets, and a green cleaning program are used throughout.
Ancillary benefits that helped this property meet LEED certifications include the close proximity to public transportation so employees and guests can choose alternative methods of arrival and departure. Hotel guests arriving in a hybrid auto receive complimentary valet parking.