The Verb Hotel Boston accommodation building, Massachusetts motel renewal architecture, USA

The Verb Hotel, Boston

Massachusetts Motel Redevelopment design by Elkus Manfredi Architects, USA

Design: Elkus Manfredi Architects

The Verb Hotel Boston

Location: The Fenway, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The Verb Hotel, Boston motel renewal

September 24, 2014

The Verb Motel Redevelopment


Core/shell restoration of original 1959 two-level brick motel.  93 guest rooms, fitness room, courtyard with swimming pool and deck, reception lobby, refurbished 1947 vintage Flexible tour bus. Restaurant to open Spring 2015.

Design Challenge

Building on the legacy that began when the Fenway Motor Hotel opened in 1959, the design challenge was to create a vibrant 21st-century re-imagining of this classic mid-century motel that would seamlessly reconnect the best of Boston’s rock ‘n roll heritage with the neighborhood-based newspaper and rock radio stations that chronicled the cultural phenomena radiating from the Fenway neighborhood. The Fenway continues to be a distinctive section of Boston encompassing Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, among other landmarks. The neighborhood is named for its linear greenway, a section of the famed Emerald Necklace designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

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Design Relevance

  • The Verb Hotel is part of the decade-long urban revitalization of the blocks surrounding historic Fenway Park, where gas stations, car dealerships, and parking lots are giving way to a dynamic mixed-use environment of residential, office, and retail.
  • The Verb Hotel celebrates the fabled rock-era music culture that began in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood in the 1960s, when early in their careers, rock icons such as Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, and The Who – and later The Clash, the Ramones, Blondie, and The Police – performed at venues in the area.
  • The design of The Verb Hotel mixes restored architectural and interior features of the original motor inn, retro/contemporary elements inspired by mid-century design, and contemporary amenities to create a rich, authentic, and unique experience for today’s guest.

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Design Details


  • The original Fenway Motor Hotel was completed in 1959 next door to radio station WBCN, as neighborhood clubs and bars began to be a hub for music fans of the time and WBCN took on its leading counterculture role.
  • Elkus Manfredi Architects honored the original building, retaining the footprint of the motel and guestrooms. The feel is that of an authentic motor inn, including a courtyard pool and cars pulled up outside the rooms.
  • Elements of the original materiality and design of the Fenway Motor Hotel were retained and restored, including:
  • Original exposed brick in the lobby uncovered and preserved

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  • Schoolhouse-style blue brick leading down to the basement restored
  • In 1959 when the original motel was completed, different colored stained-glass windows formed solid vertical lines on its structure. Eventually, these windows were replaced and the solid vertical stripes of color became irregular. When replacing all the windows for the restoration, Elkus Manfredi deliberately retained the irregular Mondrian-like pattern that speaks of a mid-century aesthetic. Window film manufactured by Solar Graphics.
  • Parked next to the hotel entry is a refurbished 1947 vintage Flxible Clipper Motor Coach. Elkus Manfredi Architects designed and installed the retro interior of the bus, which includes a sitting area, bar, kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping/lounge area.

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The Verb Hotel’s interior design can be summed up as “the rock ‘n roll spirit of the Fenway re-imagined for today’s guest.” While maintaining many of the characteristics of its motel roots, The Verb adds a decidedly modern twist to its retro elements and offers the latest hospitality amenities.

  • The lobby is a small, intimate lounge setting with custom blackened steel-plate solid panels manufactured by MIW Corp and original brick painted black.  Textured paint by Sherwin Williams plays up the space’s character by deliberately avoiding a sense of polish.

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Lobby walls feature a curated gallery of archived rock memorabilia from the collection of David Bieber, former staff chronicler of the music scene for The Boston Phoenix and Creative Services Director of radio station WBCN. The gallery includes authentic original rock posters from legendary Fenway music venues such as the Boston Tea Party, The Rat, and Spit; tickets, backstage passes, and handwritten set lists; original band photography; Andy Warhol album covers signed by band members — all vintage materials from the music culture that emerged in the Fenway in the ‘60s.

  • A vintage Realistic-brand LAB 440 turntable and a bin of 150 vintage local and national vinyl albums offer an immersive, interactive experience for hotel guests.
  • A bank of rooms on the second floor features balconies looking down over the pool and up at the field lights of Fenway Park.

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  • Inspired by mid-century modern furniture design, guestroom case goods (bed, dresser, desk, wardrobe closet, and vanity) were custom-designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects and manufactured by Artco. Formica laminates are Oiled Olivewood.
  • Guestroom accent lighting includes a Modernica saucer ceiling light pendant and cigar table lamp fixtures designed by George Nelson in 1947, currently manufactured by Design Within Reach. The ceiling light pendant above the vanity is Drop 1, also from Design Within Reach.

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  • Guestroom artwork features front covers and inside feature pages of The Boston Phoenix from the celebrated time period.
  • Custom pinstripe guestroom and corridor carpet designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects and manufactured by Merit, a division of Durkan
  • Upholstered sofa and upholstered chair by Vogel, fabric by Fabricut
  • Tile by Dal-Tile
  • Pillow fabric by Arc Com Fabric
  • Mirrors by P.I. Fine Art
  • Desk chair is an armless Setu side chair by Herman Miller
  • Bathroom sink countertop is Silestone

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  • Lobby banquette custom-designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects and manufactured by Harmony Contract Furniture with leather by Elmosoft
  • Upholstered record bar custom-designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects and manufactured by Harmony Contract Furniture with fabric by Joseph Noble and granite countertop in Absolute Black
  • From Design Within Reach, the Knoll Risom lounge chairs designed by Jens Risom in 1943
  • Triangular Island side tables manufactured by Calligaris
  • Sheepskin throws from Design Within Reach

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  • Lobby floors by Mondo
  • Planters from Jonathan Adler
  • Accent pillows by Harmony Contract with assorted fabric from Glant, Brentano, Maharam, Perennials Outdoor Fabrics, Opuzen, and Edelman
  • Cowhide rugs by Jamie Stern Leather (one zebra rug) and Landry & Arcari (two rugs)
  • Record desk ceiling light pendant by Delightfull
  • David Bieber, owner of the David Bieber Archives, curated the lobby gallery archive. Frames by Stanhope Framers. Picture lights by Lumens.

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  • Railings are painted perforated steel custom-fabricated by MIW Corp
  • Jonathan Adler ceiling light pendants

Pool accent lights

  • Globe Portable LED lamp in two sizes, designed by Smart & Green, from Design Within Reach

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The Verb Hotel – Building Information

Project Completion: July 2014
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Size: 35,000 square feet

Design Team
Building and Site Restoration: Elkus Manfredi Architects
Interior Design: Elkus Manfredi Architects
Archival Material: David Bieber Archives – Stephen Mindich, Owner and Publisher of The Boston Phoenix
Branding, Signage, Graphics: GBH Design Limited

Client/Developer: Samuels & Associates, Weiner Ventures, Spot-On Ventures
Photography © Adrian Wilson
Renderings: Elkus Manfredi Architects

The Verb Hotel information / images from Elkus Manfredi Architects

Elkus Manfredi Architects on e-architect

Location: The Fenway, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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