Jestico + Whiles start work on the Aloft London ExCeL Hotel

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    Work has started on site of the Aloft London ExCeL, a sleek new hotel at ExCeL in London’s Docklands. Designed by architects Jestico + Whiles,resposible for the interors of Andels Lodz the hotel is scheduled to open at the end of 2011, in readiness for the London Olympics. The project is being developed by ExCeL London’s parent company, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) in partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Created to shake up the staid, traditional select service segment of the hotel industry, Aloft delivers urban-influenced, open and vibrant design and a social guest experience at an affordable price. Aloft London ExCeL will mark the brand’s UK debut and will be the second Aloft property in Europe following the Aloft Brussels Schuman, scheduled to open this Autumn.
    Jestico + Whiles’ innovative design provides 252 guest bedrooms of different sizes, front of house areas including triple height entrance hall, bar, lounge, meeting rooms and fitness suite, back of house areas with offices, and a separate bar and restaurant which will spill out onto a new pedestrian piazza. The scheme is targeting a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and employs highly insulated façades, CHP and ground source heat pump technology.

    Unfortunately the practice was unable to supply any images of the interiors so we can only show you the usual exterior rendering which tell us little about any of the qualities this may have as an hotel.

    The building is formed of three elements: a central ‘spine’ contains bedrooms and vertical circulation and is flanked by two crescents which house further bedrooms and gently curving corridors. The ‘serpentine’ form of the building helps to define external spaces and is also driven by a number of restrictions on construction allied to the clients’ requirements in terms of guestroom types and mix. The primary constraints include a strategic services corridor running across the site and the flight operation demands of the nearby London City Airport.

    The hotel will be clad in several thousand coloured, textured stainless-steel shingles. The glazed façades will feature a large-scale screen-printed pattern, inspired by the illusion of depth seen in some of Bridget Riley’s paintings. The material will reflect the sunshine, adding warmth and liveliness to the building’s exterior spaces.

    The building’s form has generated varying facades, some concave, others convex. The elevational design represents a response against the ubiquitous ‘punched window’ aesthetic of the generic hotel façade. Flush windows on the convex central spine therefore disappear into the homogenous ‘wallpaper’ of the screen printed glazed façade. Windows in the stainless steel clad concave crescent wings are united into a series of vertical slots. This gives the building a rhythm which differentiates the elements and enhances the experience of passers by.

    John Whiles, Director of Jestico + Whiles said: “The start on site of Aloft London ExCeL is an exciting moment for the practice. The Aloft hotel will enhance the visual identity of the area and importantly bring much needed additional visitor accommodation to Docklands.

    “We are now working on two Starwood Hotels & Resorts branded properties in the capital, with the W London-Leicester Square also nearing completion.”

    Located at ExCeL’s Eastern entrance at the Royal Victoria Dock the hotel will have a direct access to Prince Regent Station on the Docklands Light Railway and London’s first International Convention Centre.

    Daniel Fountain / 30.06.2010

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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