Westin Denver International Airport by Gensler: 2016 Best of Year Winner for Transportation

Emily Dickinson wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers.” For the Mile High city, hope is a thing with wings. This avian complex in concrete and steel-framed glass soars alongside the famed white tents of the airport’s Jeppesen Terminal.

Guests who arrive via regional rail ascend from the train platform, sheltered by a netted glass cantilever, to an 82,000-square-foot plaza. As explained by senior associate Lisa Kong, leader of the firm’s Los Angeles hospitality interiors studio, “The design is all about movement.” Even the patterns of the joints between the plaza’s concrete and granite pavers are intended “to emulate the way earth moves when tectonic plates shift,” she explains. The pavers segue to porcelain tile as the 132-foot-long steel entrance canopy extends inside to become the lobby ceiling, with cloudlike voids illuminated by LEDs. Reception and check-in pods for the 519-room hotel and conference center are aerodynamic, internally lit forms in glass and white solid-surfacing.

Five levels up, a “nest” between the building’s wings offers a pool and fitness area clad in gray travertine and porcelain tile that imitates wood. The wings’ corner suites, with furniture in oak, boast dramatic views of the Rockies—which can be screened by blackout curtains, so guests can let their own dreams take flight.

Project Team: Tom Ito; Kap Malik; Warwick Wicksman; Kyle Schraeder; Adam Ambro; Brent Mather; John Circenis; Mike Janas; Adam Gumowski; Michelle Boll; Brian Fraumeni; Candra Mathis; Elizabeth Wendell; Garo Balmanoukian; Michael Maugel; Kristen Fraumeni; Jonas Philipsen; Amy Siegel; Darlene Brown; Michelle Liebling; Asami Choe; Bryan Kristof; Morgan Wiener; Michael Yeager; Jeffrey Hall; Sarah Marvez; Ashley Morgan; Alex Garrison; Vic Froglia.

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