A Brutalist Connecticut office building sat empty for years. Now it’s a net-zero energy hotel.

Hotel Marcel, which opens this spring, will generate 100 percent of its own electricity.

A rendering of Hotel Marcel in New Haven, Conn. Hotel Marcel

A Brutalist Connecticut office building that sat empty for years will reopen this spring as the nation’s first net-zero hotel.

The 165-room Hotel Marcel, part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton, was built in 1970 by Bauhaus designer and architect Marcel Breuer, (after whom the hotel is named). The structure was formerly the Pirelli Tire Building and, before that, the headquarters of the Armstrong Rubber Company. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hotel Marcel is the country’s first net-zero energy hotel and Passive House certified hotel, an all-electric hotel generating 100 percent of its own electricity and energy for heat and hot water with a rooftop solar array and solar parking canopies, according to a press release.


“That means we’re exclusively using 100% solar electricity to power our entire building,” according to the hotel’s website. “To light up the guest rooms. Cook delectable dinners for two or 200. Launder linens and let you personally choose just the right temperature for a perfect night’s snooze.”

The hotel will use “cutting-edge” technology, including Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting and renewable on-site energy generation.

“With the climate crisis and continued use of fossil fuels posing an existential threat to humanity, I felt an obligation to build a building that can serve as a model for environmental sustainability,” Bruce Redman Becker, president of Becker + Becker, said in a statement. “The question should not be why are we doing this but why isn’t everyone else?”

Hotel Marcel, which is among about a dozen LEED Platinum-certified hotels in the United States, will include a full-service new American restaurant and bar, a sunken lounge, and 7,000 square feet of event space with an interior courtyard and 15 foot-high ceilings.

A king room at Hotel Marcel. Hotel Marcel

The hotel’s design is a collaboration between architect Becker + Becker, based in Westport, Conn., and interior design and branding studio Dutch East Design, based in New York City.

“Hotel Marcel will re-introduce the public to the raw beauty and strength of brutalism with the building’s architecture leading the narrative and a
less is more approach for the interior design,” according to a press release.


Arriving guests are met with a custom wood reception desk and terra cotta Cle  tile feature wall amid warm earth tones upon arrival.

The “minimalist and inviting” guest rooms, which feature views of Long Island Sound, historic New Haven, and Yale University, are done in concrete grey, caramel vinyl and walnut, with accents of muted dark green and sienna. The rooms also include curated art and sculptural decorative lighting.

“Following the original floor plans of the office floor, the rooms achieve an openness through interlocking elements, with the closet connecting with the nightstand and headboard of the platform bed frame,” according to the team.

The eighth-floor suites, done in light blue and warm gray, showcase preserved wood paneled walls which were once the building’s executive offices and conference rooms.

A guest bathroom at Hotel Marcel. Hotel Marcel

The furniture, carpets, area rugs, and lighting are custom designed by Dutch East Design, which chose Bauhaus-inspired patterning throughout.

“It is a rare opportunity to be offered such an iconic structure to reimagine into a hotel,” Larah Moravek, co-founder of Dutch East Design, said in a statement. “We wanted to honor the distinct architecture and celebrate the building in all its glory. We took an intentional position to allow the interiors to be the soft underbelly of the Brutalist exoskeleton.”

A rendering of BLDG, the hotel’s restaurant.

The hotel’s restaurant is named BLDG, the abbreviation for the word building and frequently used in architectural shorthand. Diners will sit at minimal tabletops and use napkins made from up-cycled textiles. They’ll choose from a menu of locally-sourced food that includes lobster rolls and duck confit sliders. The wine list will include wine from Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Chile, and California.


Hotel Marcel is operated by Chesapeake Hospitality.

Rates begin at $229.


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