The LINE Austin

111 E. Cesar Chavez, 78701
Built:
1965
Alterations:
2018
Architect:
A. Carroll Broadnax (1965); Michael Hsu Office of Architecture (2018)
Builder:
Lawless & Alford (1965)
Interiors:
Sean Knibb (2018)
Style:
Modernist with modifications

Description

Renovated several times since its construction in 1965, this Modernist hotel contains 428 rooms in an L-shaped configuration overlooking Lady Bird Lake. From the outside, the structure is characterized by its rhythmic windows with beveled edges, monumental mural, and exposed concrete canopies at ground level. The interiors focus on bringing together diverse materials complemented by works from local artists.

Placemaking

The LINE Hotel is a prime example of the role that architects play in reinterpreting and reviving older structures. Debuting in 1965 as The Crest Inn, a “motor inn” that played host to the popular Club Seville, which broadcast live jazz on FM radio, this hotel subsequently endured multiple renovations that gradually eroded its clean design and classic Modernist spirit. Today, the hotel is once more a destination for those who appreciate art and architecture.

Prior to its 2018 renovation, the building was occupied by a two-star chain hotel whose bland beige paint job and stale interiors concealed the Modernist bones beneath. The renovation stripped the exterior back down to its essence, uncovering the distinctive concrete canopies at ground level, and repainting the exterior a crisp white that highlights the repetitive window bays on its north and south elevations. The massive mural on the west-facing façade is the largest in Austin. A collaboration between famed artist Shepherd Fairey and Canadian artist Sandra Chevrier, the mural was painted in 2020 to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Inside, the lobby and other public spaces feature an eclectic and playful mix of materials: chunky white plaster ceilings, blackened wood bars, copper fireplace hoods, and pops of pink. If you want to sample some of Austin’s best tacos, sidle up to the curbside counter at Veracruz All Natural and grab one for the road.

If exploring the hotel feels a bit like wandering around a very large artist’s studio, you’re not far off the mark. The building is populated with over 500 original works by local artists, and the hotel sponsors an annual artist-in-residence program in which a series of artists each spend six weeks at a private studio space on site. The program is especially important given Austin’s rising real estate costs, which have forced many studio spaces away from the city center. – Bud Franck, RA

Photo Credits:

Chase Daniel, Patrick Wong