UPDATE 1/17: The answer to the question in the headline is actually a big fat no. Marc Kushner of HWKN has clarified that these renderings were purely speculative and created before the developer selected an architect. There will still be a hotel on the site, designed by another architect. Are we mad or sad? Relieved or disappointed? We've reached out to the developer again to find out who it is. Any intel? You know what to do.
UPDATE 1/21: HKWN, which owns the rights to the renderings, has requested that we remove them. So you'll just have to go off of our descriptions to get a sense of what they had speculatively proposed for the site.
The architects at HWKN have never been afraid to be zany. Amorphous alien-like imagined brownstone? Check. MoMA PS1's blue, spiky, air-purifying art installation? Check. But we spotted these bonkers renderings [UPDATE: the section was taken down after this post was published] for a new hotel in Williamsburg on the firm's official site, jaws literally dropped. It's made of brick, overlaid with a steel exosteleton of sorts, plus the outlined framework for a chimney or bell tower that isn't actually there. It's overhung with various greenery including what appears to be a very erect piece of topiary. It's possible that only half the building has actual windows, and one facade is lined with balconies. The allusion to the area's industrial past is clear and commendable, but it certainly is an, um, ambitious design.
The total size of the project is listed at 50,000 square feet, and the developer is Heritage Equity Partners. The Midtown-based real estate investment firm has bought up multiple properties in the area, and The Real Deal reported in 2012 that Heritage was planning a 160-room boutique hotel for its parcel, purchased for $4.5 million, at 96 Wythe Avenuejust one block from the Wythe Hotel's success story.
The fact that the out-there designs above and below are for the 96 Wythe site remains unconfirmed by the firm and developer, but HWKN's renderings place the Wythe Hotel and other buildings nearby in the exact configuration that would make sense if that were the hotel's address. (Thank you, Street View.) Also, one of the interior renderings has the number "96" inlaid into the wall. So.
In summer 2012, Heritage was shooting for completion in two years and searching for an operator; the project is currently listed on HKWN's site as under construction. [UPDATE: Just a reminder that the section on HWKN's site was taken down after this post was published.] Here's how HWKN describes the design:
Its industrial aesthetic and richly textured surfaces fit perfectly next to rugged warehouses along the Brooklyn waterfront. A corten steel grid frames the brick facade, and a collection of public spaces sit on top of the whole building, overlooking the East River and Manhattan beyond. Elements with natural character make up the interior; the inviting cave, the forest of columns, the driftwood bar, and key roof fixtures communicate the hotel's warm and comfortable style. Despite its overuse, the adjective "bonkers" seems appropriate here.
· Williamsburg Hotel [HWKN, no longer live]
· Heritage plans Williamsburg hotel, rentals [TRD]
· Heritage Equity Partners Going Hip With New Williamsburg Hotel [Commercial Observer]
· All HWKN coverage [Curbed]
· Architectural Craziness archive [Curbed]