David Baker Architects

H2HOTEL

For Healdsburg’s H2Hotel, the Roof Lives


See all Press

by D. Ashley Furness
The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa

HEALDSBURG – A team of nationally renowned artists, developers, designers and architects are in the midst of creating Hotel Healdsburg’s modern and super-green little sister, the H2Hotel, which they hope will achieve gold or platinum LEED certification.

“It was more something we wanted to do because it was the right thing to do, not really for the hype or just to say we were green,” said hotel spokeswoman Circe Sher.

Accomplished San Francisco eco-architect David Baker + Partners, who also designed the Hotel Healdsburg, described the project as stylish and gently rustic, infusing elements that inspire guests to spend time outdoors in the native-plant garden or cycling around town on complimentary bicycles.

Rendering by Kevin Markarian.

The four-story, 36-room inn at the gateway of the North County town will be outfitted inside and out with the latest in environmentally-sound building practices, the most interesting of which, might be the vegetation-growing roof. Accomplished San Francisco eco-architect David Baker & Partners, who also designed the Hotel Healdsburg, described the project as stylish and gently rustic, infusing elements that inspire guests to spend time outdoors in the native-plant garden or cycling around town on complimentary bicycles.

The majority of the suites will be standard-class rooms with king beds, walk-in closets, flat-screen televisions, Internet and iPod connections. Furniture in the rooms will be crafted from local reclaimed wood, custom-designed for the hotel and linens, rugs and draperies made with organic and other all-natural materials.

The hotel will also offer larger junior suites of about 450 square feet and other 600-square-foot executive rooms, with a separate living and powder room. All accommodations will have balconies, large windows to save on lighting and high 11-foot ceilings. Intended partially to accommodate a younger visitor, rates are comparatively modest to other hotels in the area, ranging between $200 and $300 a night.

The building will include ground floor retail space for the local chamber and guests will have access to an outdoor pool heated by solar panels, which will also provide a portion of the energy for the rest of the hotel. A meeting space with access to outdoor gardens will also accommodate small groups of about 50. The vegetated roof planted with native succulents will capture and filter rainwater, help contain energy in the building and provide habitat for birds and insects. An automated key system will turn off lights and electronics and monitor temperature when the space is unoccupied, then return the room to its previous settings when the guest returns. The hotel is also working with the Russian Riverkeeper and Redwood Empire Trout Unlimited organization on a Foss Creek restoration project. “I am just thrilled at their response,” said Russian Riverkeeper’s Don McEnhill. “They have really bent over backwards to make sure that the hotel design works with the creek and local ecology.”

Developers took several precautions to control runoff in the design, planning for a ground-filter system to prevent polluted water from entering the waterway that runs through the property. Mr. McEnhill said landscaper Andrea Cochran of Andrea Cochran Landscape Architects had initially planned to plant some non-native plants around the outdoor pool, but changed the design once they began the Riverkeeper collaboration.

The hotel has also agreed to fund a three- to five-year native plant restoration project along the creek that will begin this spring. A waterfall sculpture crafted with 4,000 espresso spoons by Sebastopol-resident and prominent artist Ned Khan will be one of a gallery of art pieces displayed at the hotel, and it will be fed by an underground cistern replenished by rainwater.

Contractor Midstate Construction broke ground on the project in October and is currently pouring the foundation.

The work will take about two years to complete with an expected opening sometime in 2010. Once the building is finished, builders will apply for official LEED certification.