Parkgate Hotel was a real opportunity to do the things that matter to us. Rescuing unloved and empty buildings. Working with enthusiastic and committed clients. Contributing to our cities with high quality design.
We were delighted then when Rightacres asked us in 2017 to design a new 4* hotel in Cardiff city centre. They wanted to create a new leisure destination and conference facility with a prime location right next to the Principality Stadium. However, the new project came with several critical design challenges that we had to solve to unlock its full potential.
Firstly, we needed to allocate the right uses to the unique historic spaces. Secondly, we had to find space for the bedrooms and efficiently thread the services through the existing building. Finally, we needed to provide a new modern extension on a highly visible city corner that would successfully embody the new hotel’s brand values and high quality product.
This was a project all about balance. Restoring the grand set-piece spaces whilst also finding space within the existing buildings for a modern serviced hotel with all the functions that guests demand.
The scheme joins up a few different plots at the end of Westgate Street in Cardiff. The sites included the old County Court building, and the listed Grade II Parkgate (from which the new hotel gets its name). We made the bold decision to knock down two-thirds of the County Court building, which we had to justify to the planners to fit in a modern, highly-serviced conference venue.
Thanks to the passion and experience of our Project Director Alan Francis, combined with the tenacity, dedication and critical thinking skills of Project Architect Ron Das and his team, we were able to face the inevitable hiccups and challenges these historic buildings throw up. We worked closely throughout with the developer client and delivery contractor, who all showed admirable grit and determination to keep up momentum despite the pandemic.
A Rediscovered Treasure
And old buildings give up their secrets slowly. It was only halfway through construction that we discovered a fabulous old roof space, with exposed trusses and slender steel tension ties. After a quick design review and some head scratching, it was clear we had to persuade our client to include this in the scheme. As a result, it is now the new private dining space, a unique entertainment space in the city and a rediscovered treasure.