When plans were being developed for the new Hotel Interurban in the close-in Seattle suburb of Tukwila, Washington, the adjectives ‘modern’ and ‘contemporary’ were high on the list, given the region’s tech-focused economy. Asian and Native American references were also important, to reflect the region’s cultural heritage.
Initially, designers with Group West Architecture had specified a fiber-cement product as the cladding of the entire façade, but those plans were reconsidered due to budget concerns. AMS, a Washington-based distributor of high-performance exterior building materials, came up with the suggestion of metal panels as a cost-effective way to stretch the budget further without compromising the design. The revised plan uses the texture variations between the fiber cement and metal panels to emphasize the contrasting blocks of color.
In all, 7178 m2 (77,260 sf) of .24-gauge aluminum panels were specified, in sandstone, bone white, charcoal, and slate gray finishes. A palette of gray and tan earth tones was used for the exterior to contrast against each other in patterns that emphasize the building’s squared-off lines.
“The owner and architect were very happy,” said Tamara Lally, the AMS project manager. “We were able to provide colors that were compatible with the fiber cement, so it is a seamless look. And we did not have to do anything custom—everything was available.”
The Interurban’s general manager, Mike West, says the exterior fits well the hotel’s overall branding.
“Our primary message to guests is that we are a hub for their Seattle experience—urban and modern with hints of Pacific Northwest and Asian influences,” he said. “The exterior speaks to that with a modern design and use of different colors and material styles, and with different geometric shapes incorporated into it.”