Aston Webb’s 1912 Admiralty Arch is to be converted into a luxury hotel by London-based Blair Associates Architecture
This morning (26 October) the Government agreed to lease the London landmark to Prime Investors Capital Limited (PIC) for 99 years paving the wave for a multi-million restoration and conversion of the Grade I-listed government office building.
According to Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, the deal will raise £60 million for taxpayers and ‘marks the beginning of one of the largest and most exciting restoration projects in recent years’.
The London-based practice, which last year completed the restoration of the the Connaught hotel and surrounding public realm with Tadao Ando, will reinstate ‘many lost features’ using original Aston Webb drawings from around 1910.
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said: ‘At present Admiralty Arch is not being used and is costing £900,000 a year to run. Rather than letting it fall into disrepair we are taking action.
‘British specialists will work closely with English Heritage and Westminster Council to bring the Arch back to life. The restoration will bring jobs to London and beyond. The freehold of the building will remain in the hands of the public, ensuring they have a say in the future of this building forever.’
Chief executive of PIC, Rafael Serrano, said: ‘We are committed to preserving the iconic status of Admiralty Arch and celebrating Sir Aston Webb’s historic design, while restoring, modernising and adapting it sensitively for a new use that will sustain its value for future generations.’
Admiralty Arch was commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of his mother, the late Queen Victoria and was designed by Aston Webb in 1910. The Grade-I listed building was completed in 1912. Its purpose was to provide a ceremonial passage from Trafalgar Square towards Buckingham Palace. Though it originally housed offices and residences for the Sea Lords of the Admiralty, Admiralty Arch is currently empty and has never before been open to the public. It requires extensive restoration and is not suitable for a modern office.