State privatization combined with a general lack of funds has resulted over the years in a disregard towards public spaces. The private sector taking advantage of the situation has completely taken over. Shopping malls, food parks, multiplexes and other paraphernalia have hijacked public spaces, as the main objective is to consume. Public space is now available to the public for the right price. It is in the private sector’s best interest to invent reasons for its maximum occupation. Manchester’s completely rebuilt city center and Birmingham’s revamped Bull Ring with its latest new addition of the Future System’s Selfridges are prime examples of private sector invasion. Services offered create a life style ready for consumption.
The Hotel itself with its lobby, bar and restaurant has partly substituted public space as it is not available to everyone. Past ‘romantic’ theories regarding the Hotel as a refuge for the contemporary traveler, the nomad, are probably based on rich nomads. At present it seems that concepts and architecture have been compromised in favour of what the Hotel actually stands for, in terms of services and life style.
Contemporary public spaces are yet to be reinvented. Sadly several attempts have been unsuccessful, as they seem strange and unfamiliar to the general public. Recently local residents managed to put to a halt Daniel Libeskind’s radical Victoria and Albert Museum extension in London. Often, in an attempt to familiarize with ‘strange’ architectural interventions outer skins are painted ‘pleasing to the eye’ pastel colours and flowers along with other kinds of vegetation are used to ‘humanize’ fair-faced concrete structures.
‘Isn’t it lovely to see flowers in a public square!’
The Hotel hijacks the Square and spreads along it forming various levels. Its fluid mass extends over it providing shelter to the public. The Hotel roof is an expansion of the Square as it is accessible to the public. Shallow incisions in the ground form the entry to the Hotel Lobby that is completely open to the public as it simultaneously takes on the role of the antechamber to the metro ticket hall situated underneath the Square. The Hotel and Lobby roofs are part of the Square’s land formation. The Hotel and the Public Square have achieved a state of symbiosis.
Personalised room service is the motto of this Hotel. Intelligent rooms are fitted with free broadband and provide information about the Room’s abilities and how a person can use them. A person interacts with the Room Help System via speech, visual displays, and keyboards/mice. Room temperature, music, lighting etc can be tampered with. A choice of Designer Room interiors is offered. Some rooms offer secluded, isolated environments whereas others form open landscape-like interiors to fit the client’s mood.