New Marriott Hall

The design concept for the repositioning of the New Marriott Hall, as well as related projects, takes its queues from the client’s motto of “cool, coastal California”, the architectural language of the existing buildings, and the project’s urban context. The basic program includes a 40,000 SF ballroom over a 40,000 SF exhibit hall, each supported by pre-function spaces as well as back-of-house services.

The design parti for the new two-story hall needed to respond to several parameters, including its mass and scale juxtaposed to Harbor Drive, pedestrian access to the embarcadero, and the modern architectural character of the existing buildings. The design solution — axiality, de-composition, and simplicity — provides for an articulated glass curved-façade enclosing the “football-shaped” pre-function space of the ballroom level which “floats” over the first level exhibit hall. The orientation of the space is deliberately aligned with the Harbor Drive reflecting pool which is sited directly in front of the hotels “twin” towers. In order to reduce the perceived bulk and mass of the new hall, several architectural elements have been articulated; this would include the levitated east staircase, horizontal slit windows, and the “floating” grand staircase. Likewise, to promote an enjoyable pedestrian experience to the embarcadero, the curved façade of the hall is coupled with a colonnade of canopy trees which defines the Marriott-Hyatt walk. Using the “vocabulary” of the existing buildings — in particular, horizontal banding, high performance glass, curved geometry, architectural concrete and high quality stone, all contrasted with a lush, tropical landscape palette — the new hall is in concert with the overall composition of the site. For example, its cool simplicity can be seen in the north facade (Harbor Drive) whose second level is curved with horizontally striped multi-tinted glass and expressed mullions. This space is supported by eight metal clan columns while the majority of the building is clad in pre-cast concrete panels. Another example can be seen in the landscape program where the forecourt plaza and grand staircase of the hall is defined by palms (similar to Harbor Drive) along with its custom metal art piece.