It’s been nearly a month since the Waldorf Astoria hotel shuttered for a three-year renovation, and we’re now getting some details about what that restoration might entail. The Wall Street Journal recently spoke with architects at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the firm that is leading the restoration and conversion of the hotel, and SOM has released some of the first rendering for what the restoration will look like.
But before we get into that, a quick recap at what’s happening at the Waldorf Astoria: Chinese investment firm Anbang Insurance Group purchased the hotel for $1.95 billion in 2014, and announced plans to convert its upper floors into condos, while still maintaining the hotel on the lower floors.
Last fall, the Anbang agreed to work with the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to restore and maintain some of the hotel’s iconic interiors, and earlier this month the LPC landmarked several interior sections of the Art Deco building, already declared an exterior landmark in 1993.
Now back to the restoration. Architects at SOM have been working over the past year—going through architectural archives and old photos, and collaborating with the interior design firm Pierre-Yves Rochon (the lead interior designer on the project) and Hilton Worldwide Holdings, the hotel’s operator, to restore as many details from the original design as possible.
Those details include the color of the brick, which in this case is Waldorf gray, windows with thinner frames, maple wood burl panels on the main lobby wall, and various lighting elements. For a full breakdown of all the restoration work SOM has planned, head on over to the Wall Street Journal.
“Our design for the Waldorf Astoria New York reclaims the full potential of one of New York City’s most legendary buildings and opens a new chapter in the hotel’s celebrated history,” Roger Duffy a design partner at SOM, said in a statement. “The Waldorf Astoria has been an audacious civic icon since it first opened in 1931, and we are honored to be leading the effort to restore this Art Deco masterpiece, while turning it into a world-class destination for the 21st century.”
The Landmarks Commission will have to sign off on these proposals before the work actually gets underway, but since the developer has agreed to work with them, it seems likely that it won’t be a problematic approvals process.