The Standard Hotel London

London, United Kingdom | C.1970

Photo Credit: Alessandra Cervetti

Described as “never universally liked,” this child of Midcentury modern architecture didn’t have an easy beginning. Defying the “brutal” nature of its lovable concrete shape, this structure has been reborn as a luxury London hotel—with the help of a red external lift. 

Coming from the French word for raw concrete (béton brut) instead of describing its look, the architectural movement of Brutalism swept the world between the 1950s and 1970s. Distinctive in their use of concrete with no ornamentation, angular shapes, and gray color, these designs were popular, especially for public and university structures. Over time, however, these futuristic structures became controversial with many decrying their “melancholic” aesthetic. 

In 1973, the Camden Town Hall Annexe designed by Sydney Cook would open on Argyle Street as a much-needed expansion for the overcrowded town hall next door. Comprising six stories of office space, the jewel of the gray building was its rooftop, featuring a terrance and restaurant for office workers. When Camden officials would remain at the building until 2014, leaving the premises for a structure with arguably less exterior concrete, preservationists worried that the Annexe might meet its end.

Due to the hard work of those who appreciate béton brut, the geometrically shaped building was transformed instead into The Standard Hotel in 2019. Converted to 21st Century tastes, three glass-paneled floors were added to the top with a new terrace and public dining space. Did we mention it also hasa new outdoor elevator?

Written By: Seamus McMahon

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