By: Casey Bucher
My thesis is centered on a historic building preservation in the downtown St. Louis area. Once I found the perfect building to be restored, I worked on developing a program for its new use. However, finding a fitting new use for an abandoned elementary school in the Soulard district was a challenging problem. The historic area of St. Louis boasts plenty of mom-and-pop type shops, neighborhood restaurants, and plenty of residential townhouse options that make you feel as if you are walking along the streets of Nice, France. This makes finding a unique use for a large 62,000 square foot building quite the test.
After a few weeks of research, the solution became clear. A semi-large footprint with large windows, early 1900 design characteristics, and a prime location for visitors of the historic district of Soulard: develop this space into a boutique hotel. Boutique hotels are defined as “an intimate, design-led property which distinguishes itself from larger chain/branded hotels by providing guests with ultra-personalized service and accommodation.” This type of hotel is a unique experience for the guest, gained through the atmosphere, personalized service and aesthetics. Too large to be considered a bed and breakfast but too small for a chain hotel, this type of hotel is a great option for the area and the visitors it brings in by giving guests the feel of being at a home away from home. The individualized and unique luxury will keep guests coming back for more.