Marcel Breuer’s iconic building turns into a hotel

The Pirelli Tire Building, also known as the Armstrong Rubber Building designed by Marcel Breuer, is one of the most prominent examples of brutalist architecture. The building, which was abandoned or even partially demolished over the years, was purchased by Bruce Redman Becker in 2020 to be reused as an eco-friendly hotel.

Best known for his iconic chair designs such as Wassily Chair and Cesca Chair, Marcel Breuer is one of the leading figures of Bauhaus modernism. Trained as one of Walter Gropius’ students at the Bauhaus in the 1920s, the designer is also known for his museum, library, university, and housing projects as an architect.

Pirelli Tire Building or Armstrong Rubber Building is located in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. The building, designed by Marcel Breuer as an office and research building for the Armstrong tire company, is cited as one of the significant examples of brutalist architecture with its characteristic features. Completed in 1970, the building’s structure features a striking negative space between the research labs downstairs and the office floors upstairs. Architect Breuer designed this space to prevent the noise of the laboratory from reaching the executive offices on the upper floors.

In 1988, the building’s owner changed with Pirelli’s acquisition of Armstrong Rubber. Pirelli sold the plant shortly afterward. The idle structure was partially demolished in the early 2000s to make room for a parking lot project and was subsequently neglected. Although the condition of the building was criticized by conservation groups, no clear steps were taken in this regard until 2020.

In 2020, this iconic building was acquired by “Becker and Becker” Architecture to revive it as an eco-friendly hotel. Architect Bruce Redman Becker stated that he wanted to create a “zero energy” hotel while preserving the unique architectural character of the building. Hotel Marcel, named after its architect, aims to be the first “Passivhaus” certified hotel in the United States and to be a model for sustainable architecture.

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