Studio Gang and Urban Villages Design First Carbon Positive Hotel in the United States

Urban Villages real estate developers and Studio Gang broke ground on Populus, the first carbon-positive hotel in the United States. The 265-room Denver hotel features a rooftop bar and restaurant. This landmark is a milestone in sustainable travel that meets the needs and interests of both travelers and the community.

This project is a response to consumers all over the globe who recognize and stand up for the environmental issues that affect their lives and economies. From the construction of the hotel, through its operation after completion, it will be completely carbon-positive. Offsite, an ecological effort will be made, including an initial commitment to plant trees covering over 5,000 acres. This will offset the hotel’s embodied carbon footprint of nearly 500,000 gallons. It will also remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.

© Studio Gang

Urban Villages is achieving Populus’ carbon-positive status instead of buying untraceable carbon credit. They are actively planting trees and growing them to make an impact. It will reduce its carbon footprint during development by using low-carbon concrete mixtures, high-recycled materials, optimizing structural efficiency, using fewer finishing materials and minimising waste. Populus’ operations in the future will be carbon-positive. This means that both the hotel’s operational carbon and every guest’s carbon will be offset.

The structure is situated at the busy intersection of 14th Street and Colfax Avenue. However, the hotel will be the first Denver hotel to go without onsite parking. Many hotels are built with steel or reinforced concrete which increases carbon footprints. This strategy encourages public transport and shows that parking on-site is not always necessary in cities moving towards more pedestrian-friendly environments. For those who require it, the hotel will partner with a nearby park space.

© Studio Gang

It is now more important than ever to improve the resilience of our cities. This includes reducing carbon emissions and strengthening community bonds. Populus is a new downtown Denver destination that combines both environmental and social goals. The distinctive aspen-eye windows of the building create a vibrant pedestrian environment in the neighborhood and connect you to the natural wonders beyond. The windows and facade are also tuned for high environmental performance–self-shading, insulating, and channeling rainwater–as part of the architecture’s larger green vision — Jeanne Gang, founder of Studio Gang

© Studio Gang

Studio Gang’s design is an Aspen tree-inspired structure featuring distinctive eye-shaped windows. These windows echo the “Aspen eyes”, and improve energy performance to match Denver’s diverse climate. The facade is designed to be in harmony with the interior program. “Lids” are placed over each window to shade the interior. To keep the facade bright and clean, the lids channel rainwater. The windows in the interior are varied in size to reflect the space’s diversity. Hotel guests enjoy views of the mountains and cities through the windows. These windows can also be occupiable to transform into desks or seats that connect them with the outside.

© Studio Gang

There will be a variety of services and facilities at the hotel, including cafes, lounges and meeting rooms. A rooftop bar and restaurant, as well as the signature rooftop bar, will be a lively addition to the neighborhood. The terrace is planted with local vegetation and serves as a place for socializing and a visual representation Populus’ green ethos. It also naturally cools the building.

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