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Squire & Partners' Art’otel bags approval

Squire & Partners’ contentious 18-storey Art’otel scheme in Shoreditch won planning permission from Hackney Council last night (4 February), despite local opposition

The 350-room hotel development on the prominent City fringe site was approved subject to further review of the detailed design by the planning committee.

The art-themed hotel will replace alternative arts collective The Foundry, which, for the last 11 years, occupied a derelict bank building on the site.

The scheme was approved despite a critical review by design watchdog CABE which was concerned about the maintenance and low quality appearance of the facade.

Objectors to the proposal last night swamped the public gallery at Hackney Town Hall.

One objector told the committee: ‘If [the Foundry] was to close down now it would go down in history as another example of a blinkered local council unable to recognise a treasure at its heart.’

A spokesperson for the Shoreditch Conservation Area Committee said: ‘The sheer width of the drum leads to an overbearingly weighty building for its location,’ adding that: ‘Significant improvement to scale, massing and materials should be sought.’

Michael Squire of Squire & Partners said: ‘We look forward to delivering a world class building, the design of which is routed in the physical and cultural character of Shoreditch.

‘Squire and Partners have been working with The Foundry preparing proposals for potential new premises, and we will continue to help with their relocation.’

The proposal by the London-based practice, which is currently masterplanning the Chelsea barracks site with Dixon Jones, features an 18-story cylindrical structure with bronze-coloured anodized aluminium cladding.

Art’otel developer Aspirations expect to commence work on the scheme as soon as possible.

Readers' comments (9)

  • JustFacades.com

    Well done Squires, this will put shoreditch on the map! Nice to see the council support this landmark scheme

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  • Vile and totally wrong. Arts Hotels, tacky new idea which will soon become wearisome and dated.

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  • "Well done Squires, this will put shoreditch on the map!"

    This will take Shoreditch OFF the map, I think you'll find. It is another example of how over-development and petty gentrification wrecks real urban character. Squires should be ashamed of themselves.

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  • This is great news. As a local resident in Shoreditch I am grateful to Park Plaza for coming up with a fantastic scheme which will transform that site, and simultaneously remove a bar of which there are far too many in the area anyway. Can't wait for Art'otel to be built.

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  • Shoreditch has been ruined, not enhanced by the 'night time economy' and has become unbearable for long term residents like myself. Although the Art'otel design certainly leaves a lot to be desired, it hopefully marks the beginning of the end of Shoreditch as London's very own Blackpool. The building may be vulgar, but nowhere near as much as the people that flock to the area at weekends.

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  • They're are not enough bars like the Foundary in Shoreditch sadly, and a suspicious amount of this 'art hotel' schtick popping up in contentious locations (see recent article "Hoskins scoops 'super sensitive' Edinburgh hotel scheme").

    It will be sad to see the Foundry, an eccentric, vibrant (often anarchic) bar of which there are increasingly few disappear. Think the bars that your prob complaining about are the type that draw suburban night/ daytrippers to the area - of which I don't see how the creep of corporate 'hip' is going to prevent as it further seeks to market & brand the area as a party & leisure destination.

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  • I think Tom Cole is substantially correct. I have enjoyed many an evening at The Foundry, but that too has been overtaken by 'tourists' of late. New developments such as this hotel or the one under construction along East Road will push up rents and force out many of the current undesirable premises licensees (no names mentioned). I look forward to a revitalised Foundry when a new home is established.

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  • Paul - I quite agree that we need to curtail the so-called "night time economy", which does indeed threaten to ruin the area...

    Tom - Artotel will help move us away from bars. Firstly it will remove Foundry, which for all its bohemian credentials is a bar at the end of the day, and a highly visible one at that, a magnet for the binge-drinkers as they swarm out of Old St tube. Secondly, its customers will cover a much wider age range of people, including many older and/or more affluent types who will be less interested in bar crawling, and more interested in visiting local boutiques and shops: if we are to have any realistic hope of reducing the bar chaos, we must encourage other non-bar activities (even if they are not to purists' tastes) which in turn will make the area nicer and encourage more people to live here.


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  • ...Tom, I should add that unfortunately too many bars were allowed to open in Shoreditch precisely because they all claimed to be different, alternative etc (and they still do... I have been to several hearings when they try to extend their licences by using exactly this sort of line). The reality is that the bar goers don't really distinguish much between one bar and the next, and the net result is the chaos which we see every weekend. Artotel may not be everyone's first choice, but it is many steps in the right direction.

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