Pocket park centrepiece for new Southwark hotel

Award-winning architects, Dexter Moren Associates, on behalf of client Frogmore, have achieved planning permission for a 274 key hotel on a disused brownfield site in the heart of Waterloo. The 9141 m2 new build development will include a ground floor restaurant, fronting onto an inviting public courtyard and pocket park.Nestling between Waterloo Station and Tate Modern, in the heart of the London Borough of Southwark, the mid-market hotel will have two separate blocks of accommodation connected via an elegant light weight glazed bridge link. A public route between the blocks (the re-instatement of the lost Marlborough Street) leads through to a verdant pocket park and New Marlborough Yard, designed in the spirit of other ‘discoverable’ courtyard spaces such as Ham Yard, St Christopher’s Place and Shepherd Market.

The pocket park will incorporate seating, sculpture and abundant planting to offer respite and a sense of place within the hubbub of city life. Diverse tree species will provide shade and create a calm oasis, as well as helping to improve local air quality. Native and ornamental plants will foster biodiversity throughout the scheme and a mosaic of wildflower and sedum green roofs will provide a habitat for wildlife.

 The ground floor restaurant welcomes the local community and hotel guests alike and generates an active frontage along the pathway, with an al fresco dining area spilling informally from the interior into the courtyard.

 DMA’s design reinterprets local materials and characteristics into an under-stated, contemporary piece of quality architecture. Three colours, textures and tones of brickwork (glazed green, yellow London stock and pale white matt) reflect the local Victorian industrial vernacular and public houses and give a light, delicate façade, with a repetition of bay elements creating a structure and vertical rhythm. Perforated metal panels and detailing provide a subtle industrial reference.

 Says director Mark Wood of DMA: “This is a complex and sensitive site and our design has been through several iterations, each taking on board comments from council officers and local stakeholders. The approved scheme is a thoughtful and outward looking development that is respectful to its context and neighbours, as well as creating a beautiful pocket park that invites locals and hotel guests alike to meander through the re-instated roadway and spend time in the restaurant and courtyard.”

 The site lies between the intense activity of The Cut with its shops, restaurants, bars and cultural entertainment and the quiet residential area of Ufford Street. DMA’s design therefore took careful account of the context of the new hotel, bringing some of the Cut’s liveliness into the public realm to the north whilst grouping the quieter sleeping accommodation closest to the residential area.

The development will start on site this summer 2018, and will be designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent rating.

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