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Rethinking Brutalism (in London)

The Standard recently opened up its first international outpost in London. It’s a 266-room hotel housed in a 1974 Brutalist office building overlooking King’s Cross. London-based Orms (architect) was the lead consultant and they did an incredible job both preserving and modernizing the existing building.

All of the existing windows were replaced, but otherwise the Brutalist exterior remains more or less intact.

A tasteful 3 storey addition was placed on top of it, which required threading new steel columns through the existing waffle slabs. There’s a 1st floor transfer slab with concrete columns below it in order to pickup these new loads.

A dedicated (and red) exterior shuttle elevator was also added to the north elevation of the building. This takes people up to the rooftop, which is a signature feature of all Standard Hotels.

Brutalist architecture is experiencing a bit of renaissance right now. We are seeing people lament the demise of our concrete blocks from the 60s and 70s. Perhaps it’s because it’s a style/movement that is finally old enough for people to appreciate it. That’s often how these things work.

The Standard in London is a perfect example of how this history might be both respected and repositioned.

Images via Orms


  1. Timothy Gray

    There are many good examples of brutalism here in Toronto. Roberts Library is the best and I hope the western addition under construction now is not going to detract from its grandeur


  2. Amazing renovation! The are two incredible brutalist buildings at Buenos Aires, both from Clorindo Testa: “Banco de Londres” and “Biblioteca Nacional”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Judith Martin

    This was built as the extension to the classical Camden Town Hall that you can see to the right in the photos. I used to live just behind it. The view through the lovely arch is from St Pancras Chambers, now also a beautifully renovated hotel. The Standard is a good renovation and a fine use but I hope Camden hasn’t just been selling the family silver. There’s been huge pressure on local authorities to do that for a decade or so, and much has been flogged at silly prices (too low).
    It occurs to me that if I could afford to stay in the St Pancras hotel I’d have a view of the Standard, whereas if I stayed in the Standard (doubt it’s much cheaper) I’d have a view of St Pancras and Kings Cross, both Grade 1 listed.

    Liked by 1 person

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