by Erin Stephenson
The Atticus Hotel is starting to feel like a virtual reality experience. For the past eighteen months, we’ve worked closely with our architect, Nathan Cooprider, pouring over schematic designs, which eventually entered the design development process and re-emerged as a complete set of construction plans. During that time we walked the hallways a thousand times on paper, opening doors and entering rooms in our minds, all the time imagining how a guest would experience every detail of the Atticus Hotel.
Now, after all that time watching a building take shape on paper, the plans have suddenly come to life before our eyes.
Form and Function
Three months into the construction of the Atticus Hotel and we are already leaving architectural renderings and imagined corridors behind. Lines on paper have become wood, as we tour a building that suddenly has both form and function. To date, two stories of the hotel have been completely framed, allowing us to walk through the lobby, take a spin through Third n Tasty (we sometimes pretend to order a drink at the not-yet-existent bar) and then imagine checking into the rooms on the first and second floors. For the first time, we are able to feel what it’s like to be in each of these spaces, after months of imagining that experience.
This week the crew at R&H Construction has moved on to the third story in earnest, and already exterior walls are going up, with the internal framing of the rooms to follow. By the end of the month their crews will have moved on to the fourth story, and we should get to walk through the doors of the penthouse for the first time. By September 14th we’ll be ready for our official ‘topping-off’ party, a long-standing builder’s rite to celebrate when the last beam is placed a top a structure. Traditionally an ancient Scandinavian ritual, the practice includes placing a tree on top of the building to appease its tree-dwelling spirits displaced for construction. We’re still working out the fine details of tree-God appeasement, but you can be sure that when the Atticus Hotel is complete, there will be a fine view of some sort of tree from the Rooftop bar at McMenamins Hotel Oregon.
Local historians can begin debating now on the type of tree. Oak? Walnut? Fir? Filbert?
We’ll have to wait and see what the Gods demand.