Radio Hotel and Tower, the colourful building in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, took a significant step closer to completion yesterday. Radio Hotel, which serves as one of the main functions of the 26,500-square-metre mixed-use development, celebrated its soft opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by New York Mayor Eric Adams, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, and NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodríguez. Designed for developer Youngwoo & Associates with Stonehill Taylor as the architect of record, the building is the first major project by Dutch firm MVRDV in the United States.
The distinctive design of the building is inspired by its context, with the building composed of a stack of blocks that match the size of the smaller buildings in the area. In a nod to the bright colours found in the shopfronts of the vibrant neighbourhood, the blocks are finished in coloured glazed bricks, ranging in from muted brown and purple to bright blue, yellow, and green.
“Washington Heights has a unique and exciting character, very different from the other Manhattan neighbourhoods further south”, says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. “The design of Radio Hotel and Tower is inspired by that character – we took the smaller blocks that are typical in the neighbourhood and stacked them into a vertical village. Add to that the bright colours that you see all around the area, and the project is like a beacon celebrating this part of the city.”
Radio Hotel includes 221 rooms, with the interior design by Workshop APD matching the brightly-coloured bathrooms to the exterior colour of the blocks. The hotel also provides a range of amenities, many of which celebrate the neighbourhood’s local Dominican culture. These include a Santo-Domingo-inspired restaurant and the second location of a famous Dominican lounge. On the 12th floor, in the blue block, is a dedicated event space suitable for everything from weddings and reunions to bar mitzvahs and quinceañeras. At ground level, the hotel also features a 750-square-metre courtyard with a coffee bar, garden, and wooden benches.
“Nothing sends a better signal to the recovery of our city than a hotel”, said Mayor Eric Adams in his speech at the event. “New York is thriving. You don’t have to go to downtown Manhattan to get the Manhattan experience and feeling here. Then it cascades out -- this becomes a magnet and a gravitational pull of people visiting here who will go to the local stores, restaurants, shops, bodegas and will shop locally. We will feed the economy of this community.”
The hotel is currently accepting guest reservations during the soft opening period and will host an official grand opening in mid-September, following the completion of its restaurant and event space.
In addition to Radio Hotel, the mixed-use Radio Tower development features over 16,000 square metres of office space, ground-level retail spaces, and a basement-level parking garage with 170 parking spaces.
Read more about the design of Radio Hotel & Tower here.