The hotel has one room – and everyone wants to live here.
Living Architecture and Art Organization Artangel has mounted a boat on the roof of Queen Elizabeth Hall along the River Thames in London. The project, named A Room for London, should initially only last for one year (2012), but because of the overwhelming interest, the boat has been able to stand still further.
The rental business is the Living Architecture that stands for. An organization that rents out several award-winning holiday homes. The concept wants to give ordinary people the opportunity to live in “a nice piece of architecture”, as it is called, for just a few days. Alain de Botton, founder and creative director of Living Architecture, was taken to bed by the violent interest. Thousands of people have tried to book a room. September and October were quickly fully booked this summer. The hotel is now opening up new bookings for November and December. Details about this can be read more about here.
Living Architecture is a social enterprise dedicated to helping world-class architects build houses for everyone. Democratic architecture, you can call it. Some of the houses they have built are: Balancing Barn designed by the architectural office MVRDV, which has received a lot of attention because of its somewhat original design. The same has The Dune House, designed by the architects of Jarmund / Vigsnæs, the Norwegian architects.
Gives New Perspective
A Room for London is said to be a different accommodation – and saw the light of an architectural competition. The aim of the boat was to give people a new perspective on the River Thames. A refuge and reflection center in London’s traffic flow. The lower and upper deck should provide amazing views, night and day. Here you can see the London panorama that stretches from Big Ben to St Paul’s Cathedral. Inside, the boat designed with intriguing nooks and crannies and all the creature comforts you would expect in a hotel.
It is David Kohn who is the architect of the project in collaboration with the artist Fiona Banner. The apartment is modeled on a riverboat that traveled to Congo in the nineteenth century and has a pyramidal steel mast. For this boat, David Kohn received a RIBA London Regional Award 2013. A Room for London, was also nominated for the Designs of the Year 2013.
Panorama of London
On arrival ‘on board’, guests are invited to fill a logbook with information about what they have experienced during their stay, out of the window as much as in themselves. Lower and upper tires are in three. There are bedrooms, kitchen, dining table, internet access and library. It can accommodate up to 2 people. The bedroom has panoramic views of London. The bed can be made up either as a double bed or single bed. Next to the kitchen there is a private bathroom, with toilet and shower. The bathroom spans the entire width of the boat. On the upper deck (accessible only with ladders) there is a “bridge”, with an octagonal library and a desk where you can look out over the Thames.
No housing for the future
On the website of A Room for London, it is noted that the Southbank Center operates many activities and festivals throughout the year, which, combined with central London location, means that A Room for London will be subject to some noise. By the boat you will also come by a lift. The New York Times writer Elias Redstone calls the project a “fantastic surreal vision”.
The Observer critic Rowan Moore is somewhat more low-key and mentions it as nice and well-made, but warns readers that they should not be disillusioned. This is not an urban aid, so not a prototype for how to live in the future. But fun is it.
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