The W Hotel and Residences complex is a new centerpiece for the city, occupying a prime location in the skyline framing Austin City Hall and Lady Bird Lake. The design by Andersson-Wise Architects includes a covered entry clad in Solanum Steel, a preweathered steel manufactured by Zahner.
The multi-use project includes Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theater, a 2700-person-capacity live music venue and recording studio for the venerable PBS television production. The complex has truly activated this part of downtown Austin while adding a new dimension to the city’s musical culture.
Conceived to set a higher standard for environmentally engaged design in Austin, the development has received Silver LEED certification and will be the largest building in the Central Texas region with this certification, and the only one that is mixed-use.
A restrained presence is a key component of the entire complex. Massing and scale make a strong connection to the neighboring buildings, especially to City Hall, which is immediately to the south. At the street level, open air spaces invite gathering and access from Austin’s Second Street District, a growing urban neighborhood.
A landscaped public plaza on the southeast corner opens to cooling breezes off Lady Bird Lake and bridges to the W’s outdoor bar and restaurant, Trace. An adjoining open loggia provides a shaded passage from Lavaca Street to the hotel entrance.