Civic Hotel Debuts Within Midcentury Landmark in Seattle

The Civic Hotel has debuted in Seattle at the nexus of a newly reconnected street grid between the city’s Space Needle and the South Lake Union neighborhood. Housed within the former Imperial 400 Motel (which was built in 1962 for the Century 21 World’s Fair), the property was restored by local architecture firm Wittman Estes to capture a distinct Seattle sensibility that combines technology and nature.

The three-story, 27,433-square-foot hotel welcomes visitors with the lobby and event space on the ground floor, where a new glass staircase, crafted with floating Douglas fir treads, serves as the centerpiece. The 1,000-square-foot meeting room is equipped with sliding panels for extra versatility, while a coffee shop on the ground floor opens out to a wood deck with built-in seating.

All 52 accommodations are evenly spread across the second and third floors, where they line corridors with vibrant yellow doors. “The key to hotel rooms is to balance art and commerce,” says Wittman Estes architect Matt Wittman. “We wanted to select materials that will last for a long time yet still bring a sense of luxury with them.” Custom plywood furniture is installed in each guestroom to infuse warmth and complement the midcentury ethos of the site.

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