Avery Associates Architects have received planning permission for a 10,800 sq m office building and 246 room hotel at the junction of Holborn Viaduct and Snow Hill in the City of London. The construction phase has now been given the go ahead.
The site presented some unusually challenging constraints. It is not only restricted below by a Thameslink railway tunnel and above by five of the six protected views to St. Paul’s Cathedral, but sits opposite and in close proximity to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre without Newgate. The preeminent design aim therefore was to forge a respectful relationship with the church, celebrating it, and ensuring it is not overpowered by the new development.
To achieve this, the façade was first set back from the corner to distance it from the church, thereby creating a small public plaza. The façade was then curved to embrace the church and the point at which the curve met Holborn Viaduct became the dividing point between the hotel and office. This gave both the office and hotel their own identifiable façades.
The office façade has storey heights of 3.6 m and, on its southerly aspect, an integrated environmental façade of raking glass and photovoltaic panels to control solar gain and generate power.
The hotel façade has storey heights of 2.9 m, made possible by using lightweight prefabricated room modules to span the railway lines below. The façade has then been deeply modelled with louvres and glass fins, the latter imprinted with fragments of an artwork that coalesce from a certain viewpoint into a striking image, running the full height of the building.