• Photographs of 3D printed models and flat-screen monitor exhibited at the Swedish Museum of Architecture in Stockholm.

  • Photograph of the Lobbi-Ports wall graphic for the project’s installation in the exhibition New Hotels for Global Nomads at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. The graphic architecture works as an organizational system for text, flat-screen monitors, and 3D printed models.

  • Rendering/montage of a hypothetical site for the distribution of lobbi-ports in an existing residential building on the west side of Manhattan.

  • Rendering of a typical lobbi-port looking from the street.

  • Photograph of Lobbi-Ports installed at the Centre Pompidou in Paris for the exhibition Non-Standard Architectures (exhibited with the projects Thermocline, Lattice Archipelogics, and In the Lattice).

Architectural Implants for the Contemporary Hotel



Architectural Proposal and Exhibition Design

servo in collaboration with Perry Hall (2002) and Small Design Firm (2004)

Speculative hotel proposal commissioned by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for the exhibition New Hotels for Global Nomads in 2002.

The project’s responsive media system was upgraded in 2004 for the Ninth International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

Permanent collection: FRAC Centre in Orleans, France.


Project Description

Conceived as a system of architectural implants for infrastructural and programmatic upgrades to existing high-rise buildings, Lobbi-Ports addresses the highly transitional nature of the contemporary urban hotel lobby.  The lobby is by definition a complex spatial and programmatic interface and one which is in perpetual oscillation between the hotel and its host city, between an array of private as well as public forces.  Lobbi-Ports v2.0 addresses this interface zone, exploring its potential as a new form of urban space.  Transforming the existing curtain wall into a thickened, semi-public zone suspended between the building and the city, the lobbi-port provides a temporal site for physical as well as virtual forms of social interaction, exchange, and invention through storing, sorting, and providing access to information.

Moving beyond the programmatic territory of a hotel lobby, the ports contain a number of potential semi-public urban programs, including temporary exhibition and event spaces to be coordinated with and co-sponsored by a variety of local cultural institutions. Lobbi-Ports v2.0 endeavors to extend the conventional hotel’s programmatic capacity beyond the primary needs of tourism and international business, defining it as well as a host for a number of external cultural programs and institutions taking on innovative forms of urban mixture and invention.

The physical architecture of this urban mixture includes new curtain wall systems which provide spatial pockets for the distribution of the port elements. These exterior membranes also allow for a variety of technological upgrades to the existing building’s infrastructure, including a variety of interactive communication and lighting systems specific to the proposal’s virtual architecture.

The virtual architecture of Lobbi-Ports v2.0 is embedded into the physical members of the curtain wall itself. Working in collaboration with Small Design Firm, an interaction and information design studio, the curtain wall is transformed into a dynamic lighting membrane. servo considered three scenarios of visual display for this membrane: commercial advertising, public art, and the visualization of the hotel’s internal programmatic activity.  Small Design Firm developed a proposal for this third scenario, designing an algorithmically-controlled network of activity sensors, visual monitors, computer processing infrastructures, and the skin’s own external lighting system.  The result is the formation of a responsive communications network for the existing building, allowing it to observe its own internal programmatic activity and register the effects of that activity in the form of lighting patterns on the building’s skin.

Focusing on this integration of sensory technology and material systems, Lobbi-Ports v2.0 proposes an architecture of informed materiality. It examines the resonance between a formal, material organization and the virtual information stored within it; in this case the computational data exchange of the building’s internal programmatic activity.  This real-time interaction, to the extent that it affects both material and organizational systems, is seen as a technique for continuously updating and transforming the building and its functions, thereby engendering continual aspects of exchange, invention, and mutability.

Project Credits

servo in collaboration with Perry Hall (2002) and Small Design Firm (2004)

Architectural Proposal and Installation Design


David Erdman, Marcelyn Gow, Ulrika Karlsson, Chris Perry

Design Team (2002): Garrett Belmont, Tyen Masten, Chris Kabatsi, Mike Mangiagli, Clare Olsen, Julianna Morais

Design Team (2004): Ezra Ardolino, Aaron White

Live Painting (2002)

Perry Hall

Responsive Media Design (2004)

Small Design Firm

David Small, Mike McKenna

Design Team: Eric Gunther, John Rothenberg