Unlike standard hotels and motels whose amenities are reserved exclusively for paying guests, this hospitality project aims to engage the Portland and greater Louisville area with indoor and outdoor spaces for community and special events. In addition to 25 small guest rooms, the Devonian offers a heated courtyard swimming pool, a rooftop terrace for Portland-based nonprofits to host fundraisers, and easy access to a variety of arts and entertainment venues.
Like most motels and motor lodges along the country’s highways, the Devonian’s rooms will have open-air access rather than interior corridors and an open, accessible lobby. Pool view rooms face inwards to provide privacy for guests and adjacent neighbors.
Founded in 1811, Portland is a neighborhood northwest of downtown Louisville on the Ohio River Falls. Fossils discovered at the falls date back 400 million years to the geologic Devonian period, an interval of the Paleozoic Era. Holland dubbed its reimagined hotel The Devonian to honor this neighborhood pride.
Borrowing from Holland, pod a+d partners Douglas Pierson, AIA and designer Youn Choi used abstractions of fossil forms found in the area to establish tectonic geometries within the building itself: the exposed structure will feature geometric shapes and patterns that visible in the corals are discovered in the limestone bed of the Ohio River.
The specific Devonian context is also reflected in the architecture. Sitting on the cusp between Portland’s iconic warehouse/commercial district to the east and residential neighborhoods to the west, the building’s rugged, modernist form with no adornments suggests the raw feel of an industrial warehouse, while the glass-enclosed lobby and open roof terrace evoke porches and arcades between the historic ones Portland houses.
Designer Youn Choi: “The Devonian is a neighborhood compass that navigates regional train directions. In the east, he concentrates his gaze on the historic shopping streets and buildings. To the west it is a landmark recognizing the transition from commercial to residential; to the north it recognizes its prehistoric era. And to the south, it’s an axis for places to be built in the neighborhoods of West Louisville.”