Rowan Moore offers an eloquent paean to the Old Midland Grand Hotel in London, now the St. Pancras Renaissance hotel. It looks like a cool building – and ought to be, at a restoration cost of £200 million – but I think one of the most exciting part is the financing structure, a combination of private partnerships and funding sources. No public money has been put in since the early 1990s, when English Heritage helped out with the restoration of the building’s exterior. Don’t get me wrong: public money is great. However, it’s also unreliable, as we recently saw with the federal government’s proposals for major budget cuts to historic preservation. Finding a way to make preservation happen without counting on public subsidies is a huge success (even if the hotel carpets are underwhelming).
Best quote: “Now, its restoration nearly complete, it feels like both a lost world and something familiar, that has always been part of the furniture of London.” The magic of old buildings!
Read more about the hotel’s restoration and the Gothic style in this Evening Standard article by Kieran Long here.