Corium brick cladding system was specified by the architects responsible for the transformation of an old office building in London, UK into a four-star deluxe hotel. Originally a 1960s government office building with a built-up space of 133,000sqft, Hercules House was converted by London-based architecture firm ESA into the 494-room Park Plaza London Waterloo for the PPHE Hotel Group.

Nick Everitt, Project Lead at ESA said the scope of the project involved stripping everything out, right back to the concrete frame and adding an extension of four floors. The architects infilled the atria to create a floor plan suitable for the hotel building and room layout. The building was split into two parts, and comprised of the four-storey podium building at the front and a connecting tower block building to the rear.

Nick explained that the first version of the design had a traditional brick facing elevation to the podium with a brick slip system to the tower. However, they chose the Corium brick cladding system for the podium as it was a mechanically fixed system, which was preferred for buildings over a certain height. Corium brick cladding, measuring 1200m² was used on the podium façade at Hercules House.

The process involved bringing together a palette of four colours that ESA would then propose to the planners. The architects carried out a lot of brickwork studies within the local area, took into consideration the mosaic designs present on the original building, and picked colours that would replicate the brickwork locally.

As part of the design brief, the architects wanted a brick cladding system that could be prefabricated offsite in manageable sized panels, enabling a quick install onsite. Spanish fabricators Folcra manufactured individual units of floor-to-ceiling height, each incorporating one window and wall. This unit included both the internal and external skins of the building, which could be craned into place and bolted onto the concrete frame.

The fabricators installed the Corium backing rails onto the unitised panel ready for the Corium extruded tiles to be installed and mortared in-situ in the UK.

Through a collaborative design and development process, the team at ESA Architects has achieved a contemporary, high quality and sustainable design that interacts with its surroundings. Nick Everitt adds that the brick cladding appears to show different colours in different lights, creating an interesting effect.

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