Constructed as the Hotel Statler in 1943, the Capital Hilton Hotel was rushed to completion in order to provide temporary housing for businessmen who had difficulty finding accommodations during the Second World War. Even with the critical shortage of building materials, the hotel project received permission to proceed.
The nine-story hotel occupies a half block facing 16th Street between K and L streets. The plan, a triple H, has three light courts that admit natural light to the hotel rooms. The light courts provided a strong rhythm of solids and voids in the 16th Street facade. The hotel's innovations included the partly covered motor drive from K to L streets to shelter arriving guests as they alight and guest rooms designed to be living rooms during the day and bedrooms by night. Architect John Root brought this multipurpose idea from observations of similar hotel rooms in Europe. At the time of its completion, it was the largest air-conditioned hotel in the world. Its massive banquet facilities were precursors of such facilities in postwar hotels.