Misci Planetarium Hotel

headshot of a young man with dark hair wearing a black sweater
  • Mark Leskovec, M.Arch. 2017
  • Hometown Saratoga Springs, New York
  • Class ARCH 5112 Core Design Studio II (spring 2014)
  • Instructor Associate Professor Arthur Ovaska
    Assistant Professor Caroline O'Donnell

This project called for the design of an 11-room hotel and addition to an existing planetarium at the MISCI Science Center in Schenectady, New York. Drawing on the industrial and railroad heritage of Schenectady, the proposal seeks to unify the existing planetarium building, a circular brick structure with an early diesel locomotive on display by the roadside.

The project is primarily focused on three ideas: providing a public physical passageway between Vale Park and lower Schenectady (via a sizable ramp), acting as a mediating filter between the park space and urban condition, and creating a dynamic facade that draws attention to the planetarium and museum (currently hidden in trees).

Crossing an open plaza lined with reclaimed railroad track, visitors pass the locomotive and approach the hotel. A winding pedestrian ramp way passes below the hotel rooms, winding gradually through the building and out into an intimate garden space. Above the ramp, the individual hotel room modules creak and shift, their roof apertures opened and closed by occupants to take in air and moderate both sun and starlight.