Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Earthquake Damage Assessment
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC, which was purchased in 2022 by Salamander Hotels & Resorts, is a luxury hotel on the Southwest waterfront. Completed in 2004, the Postmodernist-style building has 373 guest rooms on nine stories, along with a spa, restaurant, and expansive meeting and event spaces. When a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck the metropolitan area in 2011, Engineering Management Group, Inc. retained Hoffmann Architects + Engineers to assess damage to the hotel exterior for an insurance claim.
The intraplate earthquake had a maximum perceived intensity of VII (very strong), with several aftershocks that ranged up to 4.5 in magnitude. In the aftermath, the Mandarin Oriental observed cracking of facade elements, which then led to water damage at the interior during rain events. Hoffmann’s team of enclosure specialists went to the site of the damage to investigate.
Clad predominantly in brick masonry, the hotel incorporates glass-fiber reinforced-concrete panels at spandrels below the windows, at a ninth-floor decorative cornice, and along the base of the building. The building profile is distinguished by curving mansard roofs of standing-seam metal, punctuated by round and arched windows. Hoffmann examined the facade from suspended scaffolding and inspected the roofs and upper level interior spaces. Critical to the investigation was determining whether the observed damage was the result of the earthquake or attributable to normal wear and tear, weathering, age, or material defects. Hoffmann’s findings proved instrumental in facilitating an accurate and fair insurance settlement for the hotel.
Beyond the claim investigation, our design professionals evaluated the extent of the damage and guided the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in undertaking appropriate remedial action.
Hoffmann specified and observed water testing to identify sites of water infiltration and pinpoint the locations for repair. Hotel facility management immediately undertook stabilization measures following the earthquake, and with Hoffmann’s expert guidance, they were able to focus their efforts in efficiently addressing hidden damage.