When designing the mixed-use Shoreditch Hotel building in East London, the architects’ objective was to explore an “alternative contemporary language” as a formal response to the site conditions.
The intersection of Old Street and Great Eastern Street is an iconic landmark in the area, with the ancient Roman street widening on the western side after crossing what is popularly known as the “Silicon Roundabout”, the intersection of City Road, and opening the doors of Shoreditch at Haggerston.
According to the AQSO architects studio, “This junction is not only significant from the morphology of the urban fabric but also for becoming a regeneration catalyst in this old industrial area influenced by the City of London that has experienced an important creative and artistic boom.”
The building includes a hotel, cinema and retail area. “Against the monolithic presence of a totem that divides the paths in two, the building becomes a flexible element that blends with the perspective of the resulting streets while respecting the pedestrian flow of the public area.”
The building prow was devised to enhance the angle of the junction and respond to the urban views, while stepping back at ground level to emphasise the cycling and pedestrian flow that crosses perpendicularly. “The overlay of these two urban circulations shapes and defines the building form, creating an iconic element, distinctive but not monumental, that is subtle when seen from the adjacent streets.
“The twisted façades of the building contrast with a regular arrangement of openings, creating a language that translates into the interior. An internal courtyard creates a discreet and enigmatic breach that becomes a secondary access point, bringing light into the enclosure and widening at the bottom to host the drop-off area.” The hotel rooms themselves are located around an internal atrium that concentrates the vertical circulation of the building, while the cinema and retail area occupy the rear of the courtyard, next to the party wall. The structural system responds to the geometry of the twisted facade, comprising ruled surfaces along arches and straight lines; while the parametric design of the shell is compensated with a rational layout, allowing a consistent distribution of rooms and openings.