Approached by an owner wishing to build a large five–star hotel in London’s Green Belt, ReardonSmith designed a scheme intended as a world-first – a luxury hotel and spa that was mainly underground. The proposed location was at Hersham Golf Club in Surrey, with the gently undulating course providing a backdrop that was echoed in the design. However, the scheme was turned down by planners.
With a gross area of approximately 20,000sq m, ReardonSmith’s scheme could have returned open space to the Green Belt and represents substantially less built–up hard surface than the existing clubhouse and car parking, with the latter relocated to an underground garage.
Just one level of public area was to be at grade, concealed by a living green roof that mimicked the surrounding terrain, merging into the landscape. The balance of the hotel – 198 guest rooms together with the spa – was below ground, constructed in three “rings” around gardens that was to allow light to permeate their façade.
The ground–level public spaces framed the golf course and landscape to create a luxury dining, hotel and golf club experience. The development was to be set back from local residential areas and positioned within an enclave of existing woodland to obscure it from the residents’ view.
Combined heat and power generation, heat exchangers, ground source heat pumps, grey water recycling and rain water harvesting were incorporated into the plan to minimise the building’s carbon footprint and reduce resource demands in comparison to conventional five–star hotels.
Concept architect: ReardonSmith
Client: Arkin Group