Hotel of Memory

Roosevelt Island, New York

Thesis Advisors: Werner Goehner, Andrew Lucia

Spring 2015

Our mind is extremely important in spatial memory – any time we enter a new place, our brain interprets our environment and takes physical cues to assemble a mental field map. This map remains archived in the deep recesses of our mind and is retrieved when, if ever, we enter the same space again.

Yet, experiencing architecture is not only about mapping our environment; for our brain, it is more about the relationships amongst the physical objects surrounding us. We remember based on those relationships. It makes perfect sense to test this notion in a hospitality setting, where guests are encouraged to remember their lodging experience for years, often with only a single-night stay.

This thesis challenges architecture to learn from spatial memory and navigatory relationships to design with more careful, corporeal considerations. The hotel operates as a testing field for memory since guests often get a limited time to become familiar with their environments, pressuring design to offer an experience that will remain in the user’s mind long-term. Through the graphic abstraction of architectural informational present in the Queensboro Bridge and Statler Hotel, this embodied hotel design engages guests with the site through experiential, both physical and mental, cues.

Architecture school teaches us how to interpret landscapes, urban contexts, history, and art. Interpreting the brain mechanisms of those who occupy our spaces is just as important in responsible design.