Studio Gang and Urban Villages design the first Carbon Positive hotel in the United States
To celebrate Earth Day, property developers Urban villages and Studio Gang unveiled and inaugurated “Populus”, the first carbon-positive hotel in the United States. Scheduled to open in late 2023, the 265-room hotel in Denver features a rooftop restaurant and bar, designed as a milestone for the future of sustainable travel that meets the needs of travelers, the community and the environment.
The project comes in response to the growing awareness of consumers around the world who recognize and advocate for environmental challenges that impact their lives and their economy. The hotel will be 100% carbon positive, starting from its construction, through its ongoing operations after completion. An eco-friendly effort will also be present off-site, such as an initial commitment to plant trees that make up more than 5,000 acres of forest, which will offset an embodied carbon footprint equivalent to nearly 500,000 gallons of gas and remove additional carbon dioxide. of the atmosphere.
Instead of buying untraceable carbon credits, Urban Villages realizes the positive carbon status of Populus by proactively planting and growing trees to make a tangible impact. The structure will minimize its development-stage carbon footprint by using low-carbon concrete mixes, high-recycling materials, maximizing structural efficiency, using fewer finishing materials and minimizing waste, to name a few. Populus’ ongoing operations will also be carbon positive, so the overall use of the hotel (operational carbon) as well as each guest stay will be offset in addition to the building’s embodied carbon.
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Although the structure is located on the busy site of Colorado’s first gas station at 14th Street and Colfax Avenue, the hotel will become the first new-build hotel in Denver without on-site parking, which are often built steel and reinforced concrete, which increases carbon profiles. This strategy encourages the use of public transport and proves that on-site parking is not always necessary as cities move towards a more pedestrian-friendly environment. The hotel will partner with nearby parking for visitors who require it.
Improving the resilience of our cities has never been more urgent, and that includes reducing carbon emissions as well as strengthening community ties. We designed Populus as a new destination in downtown Denver that combines these environmental and social ambitions. With its distinctive aspen eye windows, the building cultivates a bustling pedestrian scene in its neighborhood, while simultaneously connecting you with views of natural wonders beyond the city limits. The windows and façade are also designed for high environmental performance – self-shading, insulating and channeling rainwater – as part of the architecture’s broader green vision – Jeanne Gang, Founder of Studio Gang
Studio Gang’s design features an Aspen tree-inspired structure with distinctive eye-shaped windows that echo “Aspen eyes” and boost energy performance that matches Denver’s varied climate. The design of the facade is optimized compared to the program inside, with ‘covers’ on each window extending outwards to shade the interior of the building. The covers also channel rainwater so that the facade always remains clean and bright. Inside, the windows vary in size to reflect the diversity of the spaces. Inside the rooms, hotel guests have mountain and city views through the windows, which also become occupiable, transforming into seating or desks that further connect occupants to the outdoors.
The hotel will offer a range of services and facilities such as cafes, lounges, meeting rooms and event rooms. The exclusive rooftop bar and restaurant will enliven the neighborhood with an expansive garden terrace planted with regional vegetation, which serves as a lush venue for socializing and a visual representation of Populus’ green philosophy while naturally cooling the building.