Radio Hotel is designed by MVRDV as a stack of colourful blocks

MVRDV’s Radio Hotel brings a splash of colour to the Washington Heights neighbourhood in New York 

colourful hotel block in new york
(Image credit: Ossip van Duivenbode)

The Washington Heights neighourhood of Manhattan is not usually associated with modern high-rise constructions, but the recently opened Radio Hotel, designed by the Dutch architecture firm MDRDV for developer Youngwoo & Associates, heralds a fresh dynamism for the years to come. As the first completed building in the United States by the Dutch practice, the Radio Hotel embodies MDRDV’s overarching principles of combining exciting design with an urbanistic sensitivity.

Alongside its eye-catching structure, which is formed by a loosely arranged stack of blocks, the building is moulded after a ‘vertical village’ concept that brings many much-needed amenities, such as flexible office spaces, hospitality event spaces and the hotel, that are all available to the local community and beyond. 

Aerial of MVRDV's colourful New York hotel as seen from above

(Image credit: Ossip van Duivenbode)

Working with Stonehill Taylor as the architects of record, MDRDV has created a vibrant, 23-storey building that takes over one entire city block. To mask its sizeable footprint, the firm opted to stack the building forms, of which there are eight, creating a unique visual rhythm in the surrounding context, while also adding a significant amount of outdoor terrace space so as not to overwhelm either.

Each glazed brick block sports a different hue, inspired by the lively and varied storefronts and signage in the neighbourhood. With the brightest colours at the top and more muted tones closer to ground level, the building exudes an uplifting spirit from a variety of viewpoints.

side view of colourful radio hotel

(Image credit: Ossip van Duivenbode)

‘Washington Heights has a unique and exciting character, very different from the other Manhattan neighbourhoods further south,’ says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. ‘The design of Radio Hotel and Tower is inspired by that character – we took the smaller blocks that are typical in the neighbourhood and stacked them into a vertical village. Add to that the bright colours that you see all around the area, and the project is like a beacon celebrating this part of the city.’

Home to 221 rooms, the Radio Hotel will serve an existing influx of visitors to the area, whether it's to attend conferences at Yeshiva University or New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Hospital close by. Its interiors, designed by Workshop/APD, complement the building’s exterior by pairing brightly coloured bathrooms with more muted furnishings to create a serene reprieve. 

colourful lobby interior at new york hotel

(Image credit: Ossip van Duivenbode)

On the 12th floor, a dedicated event space in the blue block, known as Above the Heights, will serve as a venue for a wide array of events, such as weddings, family reunions, bar mitzvahs and quinceañeras – a first of its kind in the multicultural neighbourhood.

Set against views of Manhattan, with an outdoor terrace, lounge and bar seating at visitors’ disposal, the sophisticated space purposefully considers the needs of the local community in a bid to serve it. 

room in radio hotel

(Image credit: Ossip van Duivenbode)

bar in new york hotel

(Image credit: Ossip van Duivenbode)

INFORMATION

Radio Hotel, 2420 Amsterdam Avenue, New York

theradiohotel.com (opens in new tab)

mvrdv.nl (opens in new tab)

Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.