The Town Hall Hotel by Rare Architecture in London, UK

published in: Architecture, Travel By Tina Komninou, 06 February 2012

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photo © Sue Barr

photo © Sue Barr

This Edwardian Grade II listed building was erected in 1910 and then considerably extended in 1937. Now an 8,900sqm project, we can easily say that the East End has never seen anything like this before. The brief by Singaporean hotelier Peng Loh was to create a contemporary luxury hotel to sit sympathetically within the existing building (the old Bethnal Green Town Hall, at the heart of London’s burgeoning East End), restore it and also add to its volume with an extension. We’re not sure as to whether the extension fits in ‘sympathetically’ but rare architects certainly gave it their all. Rare architects Michel da Costa Gonçalves and Nathalie Rozencwajg saw the project as the building’s third age, after the 1910 and 1937 phases.

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Ed Reeve

The Town Hall Hotel is wrapped entirely by a laser cut powder coated aluminium skin, no windows or doors are externally visible. This pattern, which clearly separates the extension from the existing construction, was selected from a pattern book developed by the architects especially for this project. The inspiration was derived from an original art deco feature in the Council Chamber, which makes the design process so much more meaningful and respectful to the buildings prior architectural elements. However, the architects from Rare did not stop there, as the pattern book also consisted of designs with a similar historical background regarding the radiator & air-condition covers together with wall panels and much more. This is an approach, which we are always admirable of and respect the process behind the finished product in greater depth. Suffice to say that with projects such as these, it is great to see architects taking a step back before moving forwards. With regards to the shape of the extension’s skin and roof, this was dictated by light and views that had to be maintained for neighbouring buildings.

Once inside, you get to see the combination of the complete restoration of the original detailing with the introduction of modern glazed partitions and loose furniture items. This restored detailing was realised by highly skilled craftsmen who brought the interiors back to their original glory. With features such as ornate moulded ceilings, wooden panelling, dado rails and decorative skirting, the constructive shell has such great importance that the ‘less permanent’ structures have been left simplistic and light in order to appreciate the historical surroundings. Glazing played a primal role in the interiors giving onlookers  the ability to see through all the existing spaces while at the same time creating an almost dropped like boxed element clearly dictating the language of the new build. The new solid partitions are solely white in colour and are only present where absolutely necessary in order to maintain the multitude of viewpoints.

photo © Ed Reeve

In the bedrooms, the pod designs are custom made and strongly apparent raising the new structure from floor level to make the separation between old and new. These modules are simplistic with clean lines and a stark white pallet blending within the interior. The sizes of these 98 rooms may vary but the design philosophy is the same. The overall feeling you get as a guest is something very exclusive. By incorporating simplicity into the new features the guest feels privileged to be in a building with such character, which almost has a museum like effect. Now combine the adoration of a museum to a hotel bedroom and that’s where you have exclusivity.

photo © Edmund Sumner

photo © Edmund Sumner

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Edmund Sumner

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Ed Reeve

photo © Calvin Chua

photo © Calvin Chua

photo © Sue Barr

photo © Sue Barr

photo © Edmund Sumner

sources:

Rare Architects, Town Hall Hotel, DESIGN HOTELS™

  • friend
    gianna | 2012-02-07 08:47:29

    cogratulations! very good work!

  • friend
    Gvh | 2012-02-08 00:06:35

    Looks amazing with beautifull designs and details, but not offering enough comfort or warmth to make me want to stay there!

  • friend
    Innes Welbourne | 2012-02-08 10:34:28

    Seems like something that shouldn't work, but does, at least for me. A magnificent blend of old and new.

  • friend
    Abigail | 2012-02-10 19:07:07

    Gorgeous hotel! Especially interesting second picture an unusual combination of old and ultra-modern buildings

  • friend
    Hugo Bler | 2012-02-11 03:38:36

    That's amazing, awesome details.

  • friend
    Kevin McDonough | 2012-02-12 18:05:33

    Magnificent blend of old and new. The sort of adaptive re-use that the preservation police need to come around to the idea of.

  • friend
    kampy | 2012-02-14 09:10:08

    Have stayed there a year ago and it was a unique experience of design. Even the price we paid was great. I small problem with the neighbourhood but I think I will stay there again on my next visit. The glass wall in the bathroom is a good inspiration for a "warm" stay...

  • friend
    Architects Leeds | 2012-02-19 16:28:51

    A daring effort, but pulled off with spectacular results. Some really clever ideas and concepts. Very, very well done

  • friend
    atina | 2012-02-23 07:53:38

    everything about this is so beautiful! i'd love to stay here

  • friend
    haris | 2012-03-01 18:05:18

    amazing work.welldone!!!!

  • friend
    Adam | 2012-03-14 03:43:17

    Amazing,,,cool. I love the scandinavian furniture in there, it is perfectly choosen for mix interior concept. old and new...

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