Heatherwick Studio set to turn “extraordinary” BT Tower into hotel

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UK practice Heatherwick Studio is set to turn the 177-metre-high BT Tower in central London into a hotel, following its sale to American hotelier MCR Hotels.

MCR Hotels announced today that it had purchased the Grade II-listed tower from the BT Group telecommunications company with Heatherwick Studio and is set to turn the structure into a hotel.

“This is an extraordinary building and an amazing opportunity to bring it back to life,” said Heatherwick Studio founder Thomas Heatherwick.

“We’re excited at the prospect of working with Fitzrovia’s residents and with many thousands of Londoners, to repurpose this important piece of the city’s living heritage.”

Heatherwick Studio will turn the BT Tower into a hotel. Photo by Doyle of London

Completed in 1964, the communications tower – originally known as the Post Office Tower – in Fitzrovia was the tallest building in London until the NatWest Tower was built in 1980.

Designed by Eric Bedford and G R Yeats, the distinctive structure was designed to support microwave aerials, which were removed in 2011. It was topped by a six-storey structure of suites including a revolving restaurant on the 34th floor, which closed in the early 1980s.


Luxury hotel opens inside Heatherwick’s converted grain silo in Cape Town

The BT Group sold the building as it no longer forms part of its operations plan. According to BT Group, it will take “a number of years to vacate the premises” due to the complexity and amount of technical equipment within the building.

MCR Hotels announced it will now “consider how best to reimagine its use as a hotel”.

“We are proud to become owners and custodians of the iconic BT Tower,” said MCR Hotels CEO Tyler Morse.

“We will take our time to carefully develop proposals that respect the London landmark’s rich history and open the building for everyone to enjoy.”

The tower was the tallest building in London in the 1960s and 70s. Photo courtesy of Property Services Agency

American hotelier MCR Hotels owns 150 hotels around the world including the TWA Hotel within the Eero Saarinen-designed terminal at JFK airport, which was renovated by New York-based firms Lubrano Ciavarra Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle.

“We see many parallels between the TWA Hotel and the BT Tower,” said Morse. “Both are world-renowned, groundbreaking pieces of architecture. It’s been a privilege to adapt the TWA Flight Center into new use for future generations, as it will be the BT Tower.”

UK-based Heatherwick Studio has created numerous landmark buildings around the world, including a luxury hotel with a former grain silo building in Cape Town’s harbour. The studio is also designing a hotel as part of its revamp of the Olympia conference centre in London.

Another iconic London building to be turned into a hotel is the Chancery Building on Grosvenor Square, which formerly held the US Embassy and was designed by Finnish architect Saarinen in the 1950s. It will be converted into a hotel by British architect David Chipperfield.

The post Heatherwick Studio set to turn “extraordinary” BT Tower into hotel appeared first on Dezeen.

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