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Jestico + Whiles detail plans for set piece St James Centre hotel

April 22 2015

Jestico + Whiles detail plans for set piece St James Centre hotel
Jestico + Whiles have submitted a formal planning application for the construction of a signature hotel at the heart of Edinburgh’s St James Centre redevelopment, after being appointed by TIAA Henderson Real Estate to create a ‘landmark’ build for the mall revamp.

Inspired by Hiroshi Nakamura’s recently completed chapel in Hiroshima, Japan and Ron Halad’s design museum in Holon, Israel, the scheme is conceived as a brass/bronze coloured stainless steel ribbon, mirrored on the interior face and presenting a clear glazed façade to St James Square, which will be animated by lobby and café areas.

In their design statement Jestico + Whiles observed: “The ribbon emerges from the retail levels below in a flourish that initially unruly, settles on a building form until at the uppermost levels it ‘unravels’ and crescendos into a contemporary elegant spire like form soaring above roof level. The ribbon wraps a simple, continuous, 360 degree glass façade on a tear drop shaped building footprint, grounded to its historical context by a central sandstone clad core running through the height of the building.

“While the ribbon is not proposed as continuous throughout the hotel’s nine stories, a continuous spiraling ribbon is located at roof level where it is proposed to sit prominently, elegantly and sympathetically on the Edinburgh skyline.”

The project will offer, at most,173 bedrooms across nine levels subject to further detailed design work.
An orange complexion to early depictions has given way to a bronze/brass finish
An orange complexion to early depictions has given way to a bronze/brass finish
the hotel will be prominent from George Street
the hotel will be prominent from George Street

The hotel will sit at the heart of a new public square
The hotel will sit at the heart of a new public square


#1 Posted by james on 22 Apr 2015 at 12:47 PM
This reminds me of an image shown to a packed lecture theatre (all of 37 years ago) by Leon Krier of the design of an over-scaled building-sized tap/faucet on the skyline of Luxembourg as a commentary on signature buildings within the urban city context. He had a point.

This is equally arbitrary. Building as advertising for the men in suits of Henderson Real Estate. This has little to do with architecture.
Settler in Catan
#2 Posted by Settler in Catan on 22 Apr 2015 at 12:54 PM
That panorama exposes the design as ludicrously over-scaled. It looks awful from that perspective - like a giant advert for Al Jazeera.

A little less height and i'll take it.
#3 Posted by RJB on 22 Apr 2015 at 13:13 PM
Its so large, through the spiraling ramp seems quite a nice idea a kind of vertical urban architectural promenade.
Is it just me!
#4 Posted by Is it just me! on 22 Apr 2015 at 13:20 PM
View 2 - Looks like something my dog would leave on the pavement!
Darth Vader
#5 Posted by Darth Vader on 22 Apr 2015 at 15:32 PM
That is exactly my first thought.
It is a massive golden dog turd.
the sultan of brooneye
#6 Posted by the sultan of brooneye on 22 Apr 2015 at 16:19 PM
No, no Darth, the bronze/brass weathers to a medium/dark brown finish. Usually quite matt.

So we will get a turd coloured giant turd. Who says there is no honesty in architecture these days!

Jokes aside, all the images show this is tremendously over-sized. This, browning turd, would become the most visible landmark on the built Edinburgh skyline.

I wonder how it fairs under the protected view analysis that Edinburgh has in place? - and then of course whatever other randoms views that the planning department decide are important that day...
cocky the crow
#7 Posted by cocky the crow on 22 Apr 2015 at 17:11 PM
mr whippy anyone?
#8 Posted by No.2 on 22 Apr 2015 at 17:14 PM
Somebody went mental with the Follow-me tool..
#9 Posted by neil on 22 Apr 2015 at 18:31 PM
This seems to have grown - I saw some earlier images (can't remember where) that showed it on the skyline and it was visible but not dominant and as such I thought was OK. Now however it dominates the views around rather than being a glimpse of something unusual but largely hidden.
#10 Posted by Boabyfaetheclansman on 22 Apr 2015 at 20:11 PM
Jesus. View 3 will keep me awake tonight. Surely something which ruins a prominent streetscape like this can't be approved. Shapemaking at it's finest.
#11 Posted by Shabbadoo on 22 Apr 2015 at 20:15 PM
Did the 'Middle East department' of jestico's design this?
#12 Posted by Robbo on 22 Apr 2015 at 20:47 PM
This is a joke right ?
town planner
#13 Posted by town planner on 22 Apr 2015 at 21:06 PM
I like it. It's a bit different from the blandness of so much architecture that has gone up in Scotland during the last 20-30 years. It also marks a rare attempt to make a contemporary contribution to the skyline of Edinburgh.
#14 Posted by dalrylama on 22 Apr 2015 at 22:35 PM
I really hope this sudden and unexplained substantial increase in scale is not some trite attempt to build in some sort of 'give-away' to the planning department; so that a larger than appropriate building is eventually proposed but it still appears that the client has met the planners 'half-way'....
#15 Posted by adi on 23 Apr 2015 at 09:22 AM
The twisted spire does nothing for the design or to help the hotel fit in with the context. It is clearly jarring against the Melville Monument, Scott Monument and St Mary's Cathedral amongst others. Why does a hotel even need a spire? The design would be greatly improved by removing the last four twists and reducing the overall scale a bit. Neither Ron Arad's Design Museum or Hiroshi Nakamura’s Chapel have a twisty spires on top.
#16 Posted by alibi on 23 Apr 2015 at 13:04 PM
is there any precedent for this material being used in such a substantial and elaborate way? i've looked at previous buildings by this firm and can't see them ever using the material, or anything resembling this design. that worries me.

also, how will this material age?
#17 Posted by alibi on 23 Apr 2015 at 13:05 PM
also, the view from George Street is just totally unacceptable.

but i'm otherwise opened minded on the form tbh.
#18 Posted by visitor on 23 Apr 2015 at 13:33 PM
a number of comments about 'increasign scale' between variants.
My guess is that the 173 bedrooms is the driver to the increase in scale. 173 rooms is not a huge hotel, give nthe development cost of this beast. I imagine some detailed space planning of the original concept showed a shortfall in interior area, requiring a 'few extra floors' to generate the necessary revenue-generating interior.
#19 Posted by none on 23 Apr 2015 at 14:20 PM
Reminds me of Gregg Wallace whipping a spun sugar on MasterChef! By a London based architect who wants clearly wants to be noticed elsewhere...horrendous.
Bob, Agg & Willie
#20 Posted by Bob, Agg & Willie on 23 Apr 2015 at 15:22 PM
I stand corrected. You can polish a turd.
the sultan of brooneye
#21 Posted by the sultan of brooneye on 23 Apr 2015 at 15:29 PM
In the UK 173 rooms is a pretty large hotel.

Out of 45,000 hotels in the UK only 339 hotels offer more than 201 rooms.

Even excluding all hotels that provide less than 25 rooms (which are by far the majority), only 339 hotels out of 5729 provide 201+ rooms.

This is a large hotel by UK standards.

So I think we could all guess that 173 beds seems to be the driver behind the scale, but is 173 rooms required to pay for an over-elaborate and inefficient proposal? Is it the 'dream' number for the client? or is it the 'drop-dead' number that any fewer than would kill operator interest?

Also can i suggest its post-code should be:
big will
#22 Posted by big will on 24 Apr 2015 at 08:28 AM
it will turn into a big green turd with the Edinburgh weather.
#23 Posted by CADMonkey on 27 Apr 2015 at 21:50 PM
Does anyone know the Planning Application reference number for this?
I cannot let this pass!
John Glenday
#24 Posted by John Glenday on 28 Apr 2015 at 10:36 AM
15/01858/AMC is the reference you're after
#25 Posted by Billy on 28 Apr 2015 at 19:20 PM
Is it the 1st of April? Can't help but smile at the design. Well it's not a glass box.

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