A Peek Inside the Mason Inn

Posted: April 3, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Dave Andrews

Building Patiot Pride logo

Few construction projects at Mason have received as much attention from the community as the future Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel.

The Mason Inn is a 150-room hotel with a restaurant and lounge as well as a 24,000-square-foot conference center with a ballroom and 11 other meeting spaces of varied sizes.

Mason Inn ballroom drawing
The Mason Inn’s ballroom can be subdivided into three separate spaces.

The Inn will sit prominently on the edge of the Fairfax Campus next to Route 123. Though the view of the Inn from Route 123 will be mostly obscured by a small cluster of trees, the seven-story building may be the first Mason structure neighbors and passers-by see from afar.

Knowing this, designers of the Mason Inn have felt added pressure to effectively join unique design qualities with a traditional collegiate ambiance.

The facade will have a similar look to many of the other buildings on campus, using metal panels, brick and precast concrete. But it’s what’s inside that’ll really catch the eye.

Palette of colors, materials for Mason Inn
The palette of colors and materials for the new Mason Inn reflects university tradition.

The overall color scheme for the Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel “reflects a pride in Mason’s green and gold colors as well as draws from the beautiful wooded landscape of the campus,” says Ann-Marie Lima, senior designer at Gensler architecture group.

“Our concept is to blur the line between interior and exterior to pull the outdoors inside.”

Lima says the main colors of the inn will have a natural look, using deep olive greens, bright oranges and reds and rich golds. To add to the scheme, cedar will be used as the main wood throughout the building, as cedar trees already dominate the campus landscape.

One of the most striking elements of the design is the carpet planned for the hotel corridor. The print is replicated from one of George Mason’s handwritten letters, and the carpet in the elevator lobbies will feature Mason’s signature.

Lounge area in Mason Inn
Cedar display cabinets will line the walls of the lobby’s main entry.

Other elements include:

  • Cedar display cabinets in the lobby’s main entry to exhibit various pieces of Mason memorabilia.
  • A lounge bar with a “scholarly library feel” featuring floor-to-ceiling bookcases, hardwood floors and deep leather club chairs.
  • Elegant chandeliers and wooden entryways in the ballroom, which can be divided into three separate, smaller meeting rooms.
  • Guestroom amenities such as desks, flat-panel TVs and wood box-frame beds.

Because of limited hotel accommodations and professional meeting spaces near campus, developers anticipate the Mason Inn will be a strong crowd-puller. Offering meeting space to the surrounding community ensures the Inn will be a sound investment.

But first and foremost, the conference center will create needed space for faculty and students to host conferences and symposia, while the Inn will help introduce countless new visitors to the campus.

“Having a well-run, attractive and well-designed conference center on campus provides academic programs a wonderful opportunity to showcase the George Mason faculty, staff, students, campus and community,” says Jody Winter, conference center project manager.

Winter says the goal is to build a conference facility that is not only attractive and well-designed with good traffic flow, but also one that reflects Mason’s innovative campus atmosphere. The project, which is being built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, is expected to be completed by July 2010.

The Aramark company has been selected to manage the facility, and a director will soon be hired. In the meantime, questions about booking conference facilities can be directed to Mason’s Events Management office at 703-993-2853.

Bar of the Mason Inn
The lounge bar of the Mason Inn is designed to have a “scholarly library feel.”

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