Location: London
Date: 2012-2021
Client: 4C Hotel Group
Status: Construction
Size: 20,000 sqm offices, 16,500 sqm hotel, 8,000 sqm residential
Credits: ACME (Rodrigo Canizares, Monica Capitanio, Anna Czigler, Ann-Kathrin Koehl, Duarte Lobo Antunes, Friedrich Ludewig, Iria de la Peña, David Rieser)
Aldgate was one of the busiest medieval gateways into the city, with a rich historic and cultural background spanning centuries. Since the 1950s, the Minories street and the adjacent area have been the preferred location for the insurance industry. Radical reconfiguration of the built fabric is now needed to accompany the expansion of the City of London.

Within its site boundary the Minories development is a microcosm of its evolving environment, converting old buildings when possible or replacing unusable ones, re-creating an urban fabric with streets, squares and landscaping. Among other programmes, a new Canopy by Hilton hotel will occupy the refurbished and extended old Aon Insurance offices.
The design seeks to create a hotel experience that is relevant to the neighbourhood by taking inspiration in the architectural language of the late modernist existing building and by echoing the history of the area, inhabited by various immigrants throughout the centuries. The concrete façade of the building has been over clad in anodized aluminium, and that formal language has been reinterpreted as timber canopies for the hotel beds. The room shelving is designed in the spirit of Jean Prouvé as lightweight steel and timber structures. Carpets and wall fabrics use a pattern which evokes the woven legacy of the Huguenots. A letterpress tray forms the central element in each room, curated using new works by local artists and objects found in Petticoat Lane Market.

The new office building will be situated on the main Aldgate High Street frontage, to provide employment space for financial and tech workers and repair the current urban void.
The massing is one large and simple volume carved on the bottom and on the upper corners to bridge over Underground tube lines and to create rooftop balconies. Arcades make the ground floor level permeable on the western and southern façades to create a high quality pedestrian environment. The main lobby is situated under the vaulted area facing Aldgate in response to the structural requirement to span over the Underground. The solar shading on the façade helps to dissolve the large elevation, while differential colouring of the fins will create a subtle kinetic effect visible when moving around the building. 

In addition to office spaces and the Canopy Hilton are introduced, such as a residential building, a public garden, to create a more truly mixed city environment.
This area of Aldgate was previously known as Butchers Row, with a 500 year history of slaughterhouses and holding pens in the area. While the butchers have disappeared without trace, the design of the residential building pays homage to their trade in subtle detailing of façade and interior. Chainmail metal mesh has inspired the movable elements in the façade that give shading
and privacy, and the interior lobby is softened through an elegant stainless steel curtain inspired by butchers’ gloves.