Olympics construction boom set to continue with multiple hotel plans across London
London may be one of the world’s most vibrant cities, with its quirky fashion sense, smoothly undulating topography and endlessly glamorous nightlife. However, when London hosts the next Summer Olympics in 2012 and millions of visitors flood the city, hotel rooms are bound to be in short supply and those that are available are sure to be sent spiralling in price. Some architectural maestros have taken it upon themselves to solve this global predicament by designing a variety of new hotels ready for the Olympic season. Here are a few suggestions of where to stay if you’re intending to sample London’s new architectural delights in summer 2012.
One of the most unusual hotel designs for the London Olympics is Aquiva’s plan to turn the world’s largest megayacht into a floating hotel at Canary Wharf. 15m longer than the Barclays HQ Tower is tall, the hotel is set to include a ballroom, numerous bars and restaurants, a state-of-the-art spa and gym complex, business facilities and a capacity for over 300 guests. With seven spacious decks and multiple private teak terraces, the megayacht has caused something of a stir in the local community, with prospective neighbours concerned that the hotel will generate too much noise and disruption in terms of lack of mooring space and loss of views. However, it took planning chiefs just one day to overrule these quibbles and grant permission for the floating luxury yacht to be permanently moored in the West India Docks. Steve Tight of Aquiva said: “We hope to bring a unique experience so visitors to London can enjoy the super-yacht lifestyle. Obviously in the current economic climate there are technical and financial issues to iron out but the plan is to get the Aquiva in place for 2012.”
Continuing this somewhat eccentric trend is a collaboration between Reardon Smith Architects and Turner Prize winning artist Antony Gormley, who is best known for designing the Angel of the North in Gateshead. Planned around Mayfair’s redeveloped Art Deco Avis Building, the new structure is arranged in the form of a crouching man, with separate sections representing a head, torso and thighs. Gormley explains: “Sculpture has traditionally been exposed within architecture as an isolated if privileged object on a plinth or subsumed within it in a niche or as a caryatid. Habitat [the name of the sculpture]… proposes a radical revision of this relationship.” The as yet unnamed 75-room hotel is set to cost £40m and is set for completion in the spring of 2012 – just in time for the Olympic Games. If, like Gormley, you have always wanted to sleep, bathe and generally unwind within a permanent sculpture, this may just be for you.
If four star luxury on solid ground (and not in a human torso!) is more your style, then you’ll be happy to hear that AEG Europe and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands have recently submitted proposals for a lavish 450-bed hotel, with adjoining fully serviced apartments and a extravagant triple-height reception pavilion next to the O2 Arena. With one of London’s major tourist attractions as a backdrop, the design for the Greenwich Peninsula Hotel has needed dramatic architectural features of its own to stand out. AEG Europe and LDS have accomplished this by the inclusion of an anodised aluminium and glass curtain walling facade, a dramatic triple-height reception space and a 40m by 75m clear-span ballroom, thought to be the largest bespoke space of its kind in London; this has caused the Evening Standard’s Architecture Correspondent, Kieran Long, to refer to the hotel as ‘the first building in that area that actually looks as if it belongs in London’.