Hanging between buildings like a parasite, ZA Architects’ Heart of the District is a unique architectural interruption that engages the city streets. The pod structure would serve as a hub for an adjacent hotel, drawing passersby in with its ventricle-like tunnels and entrances. The heart-shaped structure would add extra space over the city street, creating not only an architectural icon, but activating unused space.
The Heart of the District welcomes visitors with a new type of space that encourages curious tourists and locals to come in and explore. Rather than a private, guests-only model that most hotels are designed around, ZA’s structure is open to the public, directly accessible to the street.
In the hanging heart-like structure, visitors will find a playground, shop, exhibition space, café, bar, lounge, library, conference areas, small cinema, and of course, hotel reception. Both guests of the hotel and visitors are welcome to utilize any of these amenities at any time of day. In lieu of other amenities like gyms, salons, laundry and restaurants, the Heart of the District will invite hotel guests to utilize the local businesses on the thriving street. The hotel will partner with these businesses, and provide hotel guests with a special card that will allow them access to all inclusive amenities and services at the partner locations surrounding the hotel.
The hotel rooms themselves will be spaced out in varying buildings on either side of the street, utilizing underused or unrented spaces in a piecemeal fashion, rather than converting an entire building into hotel space. The scattered hotel rooms will be accessible from pathways emanating from the heart structure, which will bring guests close to the hub of activity in the city, while activating unused space throughout existing buildings.