Bringing the old town hall in East London back from dormancy meant not just fixing it up, but giving the abandoned historic building a fresh new identity. The property was first constructed in 1910, however after an extensive addition in 1937 the building fell on hard times -- until its recent renovation into a modern hotel and conference center. Rare Architects looked closely at the heritage of the building while developing a modern interior and a striking skin composed of laser-cut metal. The result is an unusual synthesis of art deco and modern design that bravely crosses the centennial span of the celebrated building.
The Edwardian town hall on Cambridge Heath Road fell on hard times in the 90’s, when the neo-classical building was rarely used save as a shooting location for films. It was bought by a hotel developer, and the building has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis that kept the classic interior kept intact while wrapping the exterior with a modern metal skin.
The design exhibits an interesting approach to working with historic architecture — it is contemporary yet it echoes the original design aesthetic (which was honored by the historical building society).
The interior reflects the classic building’s design sensibility through the painstaking restoration of architectural details and eclectic furnishings. Each of the 98 rooms is unique in terms of details and size, but they share the same marquetry detailing on the inner facade located beneath the perforated metallic shell.
The monolithic skin is made from laser-cut aluminum and it was developed to bring cohesion to the project. Multiple additions and renovations through the years ignored the building’s historic presence, but the new façade brings the building’s identity into a crisp contemporary contrast with the neo-classical street-side design, highlighting the dignity of the town hall.
The new façade also reduces heat gain in the hotel while allowing filtered light in through the windows. The resulting reduced energy load and increased privacy suit the program of the space well.
Via Arch Daily