Dexter Moren Associates given green light on London police station conversion

Dexter Moren Associates (DMA) has won planning permission to convert a Grade II*-listed 1960s police station into a luxury hotel for Hong Kong-based Magnificent Hotel Investments.

The former Wood Street Police Station in London will undergo a conservation-led conversion to become a modern 216-key five-star hotel, with work scheduled to begin this year for a 2023 opening.

Through consulting Historic England and the City of London’s conservation department, DMA’s design attempts to maintain the existing fabric of the building, originally designed by renowned post-war architects McMorran & Whitby in 1966. Many of the station’s original features will be incorporated into the hotel, such as classical Roman wall details, creating a sense of the building’s history and appealing to guests’ curiosity.

Elsewhere, the police stables will become a gourmet restaurant, featuring dining booths within the individual stalls, whilst the custody cells will function as private tasting rooms for an on-site whisky bar. The refurbishment will also see the force’s former assembly hall transformed into a grand ballroom, while the original vehicle turntable will be transformed into the hotel’s central bar.

The new heart of the site will be an informal guest area based in the old service yard, dropped down to basement level and topped with a glazed atrium roof to draw natural light deep into the building.

Whereas the stripped-back structure of the former police station will house the majority of the guestrooms, the rest will be located in an additional two-storey extension that will not only maximise key count but provide a roof area used to enhance the structure’s biodiversity. The conversion will also provide a basement gym, swimming pool, spa, conference rooms and restaurant.

Wood Street Police Station

DMA’s conservation-led approach to the design has won praise from heritage bodies such as Twentieth Century Society. The campaign group’s Director, Catherine Croft, comments: “This is one of the finest post-war classical buildings in London and the only listed post-war police station in the country. We are delighted that its future looks set to be secured with this sympathetic conservation-led refurbishment scheme.”

In keeping with the City of London’s ‘Local Plan’, DMA will incorporate public space into its design in attempts to cement the city as a dynamic business hub featuring inclusive areas for all. As the police station was once likened as a Venetian Palazzo, the new design will therefore feature a ‘piazza for the palazzo’; a vibrant and active public square enhancing the heritage setting.

“DMA has worked closely with consultants and stakeholders, creating a sympathetic design that secured a challenging planning consent and found a new and exciting purpose for this well-loved and highly unique heritage property,” comments Mark Wood, Partner at DMA.

“Reimagining the building as a destination hotel not only celebrates the rich heritage of the City of London, but also creates opportunities to open up this Grade II*-listed asset and allow the public to enjoy its historic interiors.”