The form of the Godfrey Hotel is an expression of its staggered truss structural system invented by William LeMessurier in 1966. In this system, story high steel trusses span across the full width of the building and are staggered from floor to floor. Precast planks span from the top chord of one truss to the bottom chord of another truss on the floor above. This system is very light in weight, can be erected rapidly and has a very low floor to floor height.
It also is a system where the deep trusses allow a remarkable freedom to express the program of the hotel, where today’s guest is looking for that unique room satisfies their unique needs and preferences. From its base the building form is offset three times, creating rooms of varying depths, creating 26 different room types for a hotel with 221 keys. In addition, the long span trusses create large clear span public and amenity spaces on the 4th floor.
The structural system allows the design to celebrate the human variability its guests, expressing this fact with a form that seemingly defies gravity obeying its own fuzzy logic. It is the exception, along LaSalle Street, that proves the rule that all tall buildings should be boxes no matter what their function.
Photography © Steve Hall – Hedrich Blessing