Kensington Forum Hotel was constructed in the early 1970’s. Despite a refurbishment programme carried out in 2015, the nature of the building’s reinforced concrete construction makes it difficult to upgrade to meet new building standards and regulations. After much investigation and the Borough's recognition that the existing building is a local eyesore, demolition and comprehensive redevelopment was deemed the most appropriate option.
The new development delivers substantial public benefits for both the local and wider community. Along with a 749 bed hotel and 340 serviced residences, the development provides 62 Social Rented homes, making it the first private development in London to deliver 100% genuinely affordable homes. A reinstated garden square at the heart of the site will be the only publicly accessible green space within 1km of the site. The scheme will also create more than 800 employment opportunities (this is 600 more than existing, or an additional 300%) and support these with £1.4 million of training initiatives. A further £2.8 million will be put towards public realm improvements to the area around Gloucester Road station.
Two towers at 30 and 22 storeys high, which house hotel rooms and serviced residences respectively, sit on top of a 7 storey podium housing conference, restaurant and hotel amenity spaces. Residential apartments are sited where the podium extends out beyond the towers. Residents will enjoy their own ground floor garden and roof terrace on Level 9, including play spaces for children.
The design of each of the blocks and the serrated facades which adorn them have been informed by the geometries of the local streetscape. Supported by a regular rhythm of projecting slabs, the undulating relief of bay windows establishes a formal grid expressing the individuality of the rooms. Using high quality stone and crafted bronze screens, the sensitive composition of the bays provides an architectural language, materiality and colour palette consistent with the local Kensington context. On the podium, the façade treatment varies. A predominantly flush façade contrasts with the bands of saw-tooth rooms above, while the Courtfield Road elevation offers a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Victorian terrace.