Town Hall Hotel & ApartmentsEdit profile
A redevelopment of a Grade 2 heritage listed former London town hall, the newly completed ‘Town Hall Hotel & Apartments’ features hotel rooms, serviced apartments, public conference facilities & a fine-dining restaurant. The sensitive & holistic design approach preserves the building’s original features whilst integrating contemporary inserts, including tailored furniture elements and a bespoke roof extension. The hotel features 98 separate accommodations - consisting of hotel rooms, serviced apartments & several luxury ‘feature’ suites – along with a conference hall, meeting/banquet rooms, swimming pool & gym, a restaurant & a bar. Experiential qualities vary between visitors to the building, with stays ranging from day visits to the conference facilities to the maximum three months accommodation of serviced apartments. The new roof extension, a unique feature of the design, is defined by the adjustment of its global geometry and contextual adaptation of its skin through local variations. The general facetted shape emerges from a careful study of environmental factors and its fluid adjustment to the discontinuous existing structure. Responding to the historical composition of the existing buildings, the resulting profile is additionally shaped to disappear from certain angles coinciding with original perspectives while creating a prominent new façade from others. The sculpted volume also allows for the provision of services associated with a hotel of this scale - large plant rooms, service duct routes and lift shafts being discreetly accommodated, hidden within the fluctuating forms of the new skin covering both the new roof & façade. The skin’s bespoke laser-cut adaptive pattern regulates solar gains, views and privacy, forming an abstract object: an ephemeral background set against the classical existing facades. Derived from an Art Deco pattern found within the building, the new functional ornament was developed into a grammar system deploying itself along 300 linear meters around the building, merging functional and historical aspects. The roof extension is home to 24 apartments, boasting a style distinct from the accommodation located within the existing building – creating a parallel differentiation of the new & existing from both the interior & exterior. The internal design is conceived with the aim of reviving existing features and functions while injecting a new coherence throughout the building. Despite the change of use from offices to hotel accommodation, internal planning followed the spatial rhythm informed by the location of existing openings on the facades, thus the general spatial distribution has been largely preserved, with circulation & corridor spaces, staircases and lobbies retained in their original configurations. The client’s brief called for a variety of room typologies, ranging from hotel rooms to 2-bed apartment units, seamlessly distributed within the existing fabric. The project makes full use of the existing fabric, including the lower ground floor units, through considered landscaping enhancing the existing courtyards and light wells. The ingeniously distributed space allocated to many of the rooms is generous, with all apartments featuring large bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens and distinguished living & dining spaces. In many units, sliding partitions and folding enclosures allow for a functional flexibility. Guests can thus alter the layout of the rooms depending on their preference, or the time of the day. Distinctive qualities of the existing building, such as window frame types, informed the diffentiated visual identity allocated to the rooms. The various different styles are declined based upon a set of variables. Elements considered standard features of the accommodation were assigned varying finish types, allowing distinction from one room to another. Worktop surfaces, cabinetry and flooring - among others - are differentiated between apartments with a combination of surface finishes forming a room style. The use of techniques such as scripted evolutions implemented through CNC milling, enable a distinctive and cost effective design to features within the newly designed apartment units. Each of the 98 apartments was undertaken on its own merits, evaluated as to its existing features or location, and allocated its material qualities. This identity is further enhanced by the furniture - a collection of vintage and purpose designed pieces provide each unit with an individual design. With the new program brought about by the change of use of the building, original public spaces well suited for grand reception and circulation areas find a new life. The Edwardian mayor’s room and ornate meeting rooms are now revived into uniquely featured hotel accommodation - the highlight of which is the De Montford Suite, a 300sqm suite housed in the former Council Chamber. The building is also home to specially commissioned art installations by local artists, bringing a new lease of life to carefully selected public areas around the building and a different journey through its spaces. The integration of old and new is reflected in the careful attention given to details & materiality, aiming to both preserve features and volumes of the original designs, while offering a contemporary interpretation of these in newly created facilities such as the swimming pool and restaurant & bar. Traditional materials, used in the existing building, were surveyed and reinterpreted, declined into a contemporary aesthetic in order to merge the tangible qualities of the past era finishes with the modern insertions, whilst providing the quality expected in a high-end boutique hotel. Brass, marbles, terrazzo and various timbers were integrated in the new design, introducing the richness of these traditional materials in highly contemporary forms and production means. The Town Hall Hotel & Apartments, as a luxurious accommodation facility offers a holistic design inclusive of highly contemporary and restored spaces, creating a unique experience for visitors. A strong focus on the execution of refined detailing both externally & internally, combined with a considered merging of contemporary forms & traditional materials provides a visual and tactile richness. From the circa 1910 grand Edwardian halls, the 1930’s Art Deco ornamentation & the 2010 extension, the hotel can be viewed as an eclectic journey for returning guests.