a collaborative undertaking by architecture firms DROO + NAME sees the restoration and extension of london’s historic bethnal green town hall into a luxury hotel.
the 1910-built structure, victim to numerous modifications insensitive to its preservation, had gradually fallen to disuse and had been ultimately vacated and left to decay in 1993. once reprogrammed, the intervention proves to be contextually sensitive as it maintains the original features of the heritage building while introducing a contemporary identity. the extension is characterized by a faceted and perforated aluminum skin and serves as an abstracted veil which offers a bold backdrop to the surrounding fabric buildings.
the design process of DROO + NAME in london’s town hall hotel extension is guided by a dichotomy between the contemporary and historic language of the city. the team develops and implements traditional techniques and motifs with the use of cutting edge design and manufacturing technologies to give a new life to the edwardian era structure. the parametric perforation cut into the lightweight skin is derived from an original art deco element within the original council chamber. the effect of the pattern cut into the skin is performative — allowing natural light into the rooms behind, while preserving the privacy of those both inside and out.
the faceted geometry of the extension’s skin and roof was informed by the required retention of light and views for neighboring buildings. in response to these parameters, DROO and NAME exhibits their ability to provide harmonious elegance and functionality. the skin’s distinctive form is echoed at multiple scales throughout the project with such features as the brass reception desk and corridor ceilings within the extension. intensive research of the town hall’s archive of original design elements led to a design realized by numerous highly skilled craftspeople — returning the building back to its original grandeur and breathing new life into marble floors, ornate moulded ceilings, and edwardian and art deco detailing.