Court enters new session as a magnificent hotel – Courthouse Hotel
A massive £40 million pound renovation project has transformed the Grade II listed former Old Street Magistrates Court in London’s Shoreditch into the five star The Courthouse Hotel, complete with restaurants, bars, a bowling alley, a spa and a cinema.
The project involved the restoration of the former Magistrates Court, together with the construction of a large new-build block to the rear. The hotel therefore includes a contrast of large new rooms and impressive restored rooms within the existing building.
Main contractors for the project were McAleer & Rushe; architects were Consarc; interior designers were Sundara Design; services engineers were Caldwell Consulting and structural engineers were Ian Black Consulting.
Spread across both the old and new wings of the building are 86 guest rooms and 42 suites, these include the Shoreditch Sky Terrace Suites – one-bedroom residences spread out across 60 sq m of living space, with panoramic London skyline views, a private bar and mini cinema lounge.
All rooms are spacious and include bespoke fabrics and furnishings, state-of-the-art entertainment systems and Nespresso coffeemakers. The former Courtroom Number 1 hosts a casual fine dining restaurant whilst Courtroom Number 2 has been transformed into a members’ bar.
The hotel’s main bar features five refurbished cells, themed around famous former ‘visitors’ such as the Krays, who were well known gangsters in the 1950s and ‘60s, while the Shoreditch Sky Terrace bar offers views of the city.
The contemporary extension houses a 196-seat cinema; a two-lane lane bowling alley with private bar and an events space capable of accommodating 450 people seated or 900 reception-style. There is also a spa featuring an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre, treatment rooms, steam room and sauna.
Mark Diamond, contracts director of Mcaleer & Rushe said: “The project, which required extensive planning and consultation with English Heritage and the planners, included the demolition of the rear ends of the original four-storey building and the full refurbishment of the remaining property, which had been empty for 15 years and had become very dilapidated.”
Externally, the renovation works included the installation of new sliding sash windows, the refurbishment of the stonework and brickwork and complete re-roofing.
The interior of the building was completely stripped out and considerable structural alterations were carried out to allow the building to be converted to its new use. These included the creation of new openings and the installation of new partitioning and new structures to support the building fabric.
Whilst these works were underway, it was essential to protect the listed elements, including all of the original flooring and the entrance lobby, as well as the two courtrooms, where original features such as plaster mouldings, timber wall panelling and flooring were retained.
Further works involved the installation of new services and plant throughout, including electrics, plumbing and heating.
The other major element of the project included the construction of a large new reinforced concrete framed rear extension in contemporary style to the original building. The 10 storey extension includes four levels below ground.
The lowest level incorporates leisure facilities, including the swimming pool, sauna and steam room, with a 200-seater cinema situated on the two floors above. The next floor incorporates a two lane bowling alley and function rooms, with the floor above comprising a car park. The extension also hosts a number of bedrooms on floors one to five, with the remaining bedrooms being within the original building. Three bridges connecting the extension to the original building have been constructed at level five.
The new build and the original building are joined at ground floor level, with internal facilities on this level including a bar and restaurants, private dining and meeting room spaces.
Floors one to three of the original building contain further bedrooms and the VIP bar, which is located in a former courtroom.
“The main challenges of the project included the fact that the rear extension was completely landlocked and there was no site access whatsoever to this area. In fact, site access in general was very poor and required extensive negotiation with the local highway authority. In addition, we had over 150 party wall awards with neighbouring properties requiring their consent to the work taking place.
“We also had the pressure of dealing with two very different projects at the same time – one involving demolition, refurbishment and conversion and the other involving new build.”
Despite all this, the project was completed on time.
“The client is delighted and trading is reported to be going well. Local residents are said to be to be happy with the scheme too. It was nice to bring this landmark building back to life,” concluded Mark Diamond.
Future Projections Ltd
The Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch offers a 200 seat cinema designed and installed by London based Future Projections Ltd. The brief on this project was to deliver an exceptionally high standard space, suitable for 200 guests in both cinema and conference mode.
This was the second project Future Projects Ltd has worked on with the Courthouse Group, so they draw on previous experiences with the client in order to deliver a full moving lighting rig, satellite, studio quality PA, full cinema standard 2k or 4k 3D, and a DCI cinema sound and vision system.
Peter Hall, Managing Director of Future Projections Ltd, has been consulting and designing projects within this market for 20 years.
“The process for hotels is a balancing act between comfort and client expectation, commercial viability and space. Hospitality venues can see what cinema can do for their business, the costs has reduced and the technical flexibility has increased since DCI standard was introduced. Now the benchmark specification allows any space of over 1,000sqft to be converted to a mixed use daytime function centre and an evening commercial cinema attracting both residents and walk-in guests.”
Future Projections Ltd specialises in a full in-house install and creates and designs solutions for any space.
Peter said: “Our default answer is yes, we can do that!”
Penguin Swimming Pools Ltd
Specialising in the design, supply and installation of swimming pools, health suites and associated works, Penguin Swimming Pools Ltd has been in operation for over 25 years.
From conception to completion, Penguin Swimming Pools are nationwide builders of superior quality pools, committing to guiding clients every step of the way.
New innovations such as moving floors, booms to separate indoor and outdoor pools, fibre optic lighting and different types of materials used to line swimming pools, give the establishment the leading edge in its field.
The company delivers a variety of developments working with a range of clients, providing and maintaining swimming pools of various forms. Working on the Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch was one of Penguin Swimming Pools’ recent projects.
A spokesperson from Penguin Swimming Pools told Premier Hospitality:
“Penguin Swimming Pools built the pool at Old Street for the Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch. This was a prestigious project for McAleer and Rushe.
“As a company we pride ourselves on our knowledge, expertise and commitment; each project is treated on an individual basis.”