A Victorian building turns a new page by becoming the first in a new British hotel chain
Make was appointed to transform a Grade II listed Victorian hotel in Cheltenham as the first of a new UK brand of design-led hotels. The existing structure had been frequently extended over the course of a century, each time diluting the quality and character of the original building. Make has revived the hotel by unifying the various disparate elements of the existing structure, simplifying circulation and creating a balance between the original features and modern additions. A new extension - the Crescent - completes the building by connecting the existing wings to the rear, thereby creating a new social courtyard space at the centre. The simple, elegant form of this elevation ensures that the modern architecture does not overpower the existing historic building.
The graceful curve of the Crescent is articulated through a fan of full-height Bath stone ashlar walls and vertical windows. The roof of this extension has been planted with wild flowers and sedum to increase the biodiversity of the site as part of a sustainable urban drainage strategy, whilst a solar array provides hot water for the kitchens. The courtyard is enclosed by a veil of coloured facetted glass that seamlessly links the original villa to the new Crescent space, unifying the building. Taking reference from colours used within the glazing of the original building, the red glass cascades down the veil, echoing the different storey heights of each wing, while the facets animate the space with reflections.
The main villa has undergone extensive modernisation which has been carefully balanced with sensitive conservation and repair. Existing public areas have been beautifully remodelled and new spaces have been created within the existing floorplate to house further amenities. Internally, rooms in the extension are designed to have a different character from those in the original villa, but a unified approach through the use of common materials and detailing allows the contrast between the old and new structures to be sensitively articulated.