The architectural community is abuzz with the news that the first stateside IKEA hotel could be coming soon. Reportedly, the Swedish home goods giant has plans to expand its stake in the hospitality industry by converting the Pirelli Tire Building in New Haven, Connecticut into lodging.
According to the New Haven Independent, city Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson said that IKEA initially considered utilizing the building for housing or a conference center with office space, but ultimately settled on transforming it into a hotel. Reportedly, the company is in ongoing talks with a New England developer to take on the project. Both Nemerson and preservationists who have been working to keep the building from being demolished regard the proposed plans to open a hotel as a huge win for the area as well as the structure’s architectural legacy.
“This is good news. It is going to be preserved,” Nemerson said. “We clearly need more hotels.”
The Development Commission’s president Pedro Soto confirmed that the news was announced during a recent meeting, however IKEA corporate spokeswoman Lethisa Bracy remained mum about the would-be project, telling the Independent, “IKEA has not announced any new plans for the New Haven Pirelli building. We do not have any additional updates at this time.”
Commissioned in 1968 by Armstrong Rubber Co and completed in 1970, the Marcel Breuer-designed structure is known for its signature Brutalist architectural elements, such as its “raw” concrete façade. IKEA purchased the building in 2003 but it’s remained largely unoccupied for the past couple of decades, only temporarily re-opening last July, when it served as a temporary exhibition space for artist Tom Burr.
The timing for the supposed hotel conversion couldn’t be more fitting. Although the architectural style is often counted as one of the most hated, it has apparently gained some new fans since its heyday during the ’60s and ’70s, with the Architectural Digest referring to Brutalism as “more important now than ever” late last year.
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