In: Massey, Anne and Avermaete, Tom, eds.
Hotel lobbies and lounges: the architecture of professional hospitality.
Taylor & Francis, London, UK, pp. 89-102.
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The title of this essay, ‘Shifting spaces’, is used to describe the transformation of an existing building when it is redesigned to accommodate a new use. Shifting is described in the Oxford English Dictionary as a word that is used to depict something that is ‘changing position or direction’.1 The creation of a new programme, such as a hotel, in a space that was built for something entirely different, symbolises a shift away from the building’s previous use. In the OED, shifting is also described as ‘an expedient or ingenious device for effecting purpose, often through evasive or deceitful means’.2 Both descriptions of the word illustrate the underlying themes of this essay. The complex process of creating a space that is new, within a space that is old, is a method of design that involves shifting the qualities and characteristics of the existing building into a new dimension. This change is realised by first analysing the host and then formulating a strategy with which to transform it. The realisation of the new interior through the creation of new spaces, and the design of new elements such as furniture and surfaces could be described as the tactical deployment of expedient devices: the interior elements that are used to facilitate the occupation of these new spaces.
This essay will examine a series of hotel lobbies that have been constructed inside the shell of an extant building. It proposes that these types of space offer a distinct contrast to new-build hotel lobbies. They do this by embodying an alternative type of interior that is generated from the specifics of the site in which they are to be created. This makes the hotel and its lobby site-specific and closely related to the conditions of the existing building. This process is partly reliant on the character and qualities of the host building to be reused, and it is dependent on the desire of the designer to accentuate or suppress those qualities. It is a course of action that usually results in a unique fusion of new and old spaces. It is a procedure that can create an unusual and distinct environment, one that is impossible to generate in a new-build project.
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