During this new lockdown, I’m making a point of getting out of the house for a long walk at least once a week. Last week, I ended up Boris biking across London from Fenchurch Street to the Albert Hall and on the way back, I stopped at Tottenham Court Road.
I’ve walked past the St Giles Hotel many times but I don’t think I’ve ever properly stopped to look at it. For some reason, I am attracted to Brutalist architecture. I like the Barbican and Tate Modern. If I had a spare couple of million, I’d happily live in a flat at the Barbican. For some reason, I’m drawn to the communist-style architecture in Moscow, Prague, Bratislava and East Berlin. I’m not really sure why – perhaps because it is functional rather than aesthetic. There’s something about the dirtiness of the concrete.
The hotel was built in 1977 and the architect was Elsworth Sykes. At the bottom is a two-storey building which four towers sit on. The towers are tiered so that viewing central London is possible in all of them.
The hotel has 675 rooms and is situated right next to Tottenham Court Road tube station. The hotel is presumably named after the area – St Giles, named after the church nearby. I never realised but the crossing outside the tube station is called St Giles Circus. The hotel is currently being refurbished but is still open for business (or as open as it can be during the pandemic). It boasts three restaurants.
The YMCA is in the same building.
This article is part of a series on Brutalist (and similar) architecture. I’m in the process of consolidating everything I do on the web into this blog and you can find more on my brutalist_buildings Instagram account.