Dizzying design: New Crown Heights inn recalls artist M.C. Escher’s geometric drawings

A well-lit place: The 100-room Bedford Hotel will feature brightly lit wood-paneled rooms.

This hotel is a trip!

A swanky five-story inn with a mind-teasing, circuitous rooftop straight out of a lithograph by Dutch artist M.C. Escher will replace an old Gulf gas station in Crown Heights. Creatives at ODA Architecture designed the roof of the lodge at 1550 Bedford Ave., called simply the Bedford Hotel, to resemble a revolving staircase that ascends and descends around an inviting plaza and is accessible from all levels of the ritzy property, according to a rep from the firm.

“Instead of taking elevators to the roof, you can step out and enjoy it from any floor, and from the roof you can go to any other level,” said Juan Urrueia. “That’s the idea of the loop, which relates to Escher’s drawings.”

The rising and falling rooftop will feature a garden, bar, and expansive views over Eastern Parkway — all of which are open to the public, Urrueia said.

And inside the 100-room hotel, locals will find shops and restaurants on the ground floor, along with a banquet hall that the architects plan to build in the inn’s cellar, according to Department of Buildings permits.

The lodge’s facade will be constructed out of a dark concrete meant to contrast with the green foliage growing in its interior plaza and the brightly lit, blonde-wood-paneled rooms within, Urrueia said.

Ups and Downs: The Bedford Hotel’s roof will ascend and descend around a landscaped plaza in a design reminiscent of paintings by famed graphic designer M.C. Escher.
ODA Architecture

“Its about this idea of contrast, and protection from the outside, with comfort on the inside,” he said.

The property is rising just blocks from the neighborhood’s city-owned Bedford-Union Armory, which developers will transform into a massive residential complex with 149 market-rate rentals, 250 so-called affordable units, and a community center pending the outcome of a lawsuit over the project that opponents filed the day before Council voted to approve the scheme last November.

Escher is known for his mathematical drawings that captivate observers with their dizzying geometry, and the inn’s architects hope their building’s design will similarly entrance guests and passersby, according to the spokesman.

“We put people first,” he said. “Our buildings unfold and become a stage for people to experience themselves.”

The lodge is slated to open sometime in 2020, according to another ODA Architecture rep.

The Bedford Hotel is not the firm’s first project in the borough. It is behind the huge “Bushwick II” apartment complex going up on the former Rheingold brewery site in Bushwick, the glass-and-brick makeover of a warehouse at 10 Jay St. in Dumbo’s historic district on the edge of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the two controversial towers slated for Pier 6 in Brooklyn’s Frontyard — which continue to rise by the day even though a judge has yet to decide whether they can go up at all.

Room with a view: The Bedford Hotel’s central courtyard will shield guests from the outside world, while the inn’s rooftop terrace will provide views from above.
ODA New York

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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