The brief was to provide a 140-bedroom hotel, the first to be built in the centre of Doncaster in 40 years, and 3000m2 of space for retail and commercial use.
The site sits at the junction of High Fisher Gate and Church Way adjacent to Doncaster’s Corn Exchange, Market Place and St George’s Church and was occupied by a dilapidated two storey retail building.
The new building’s massing and appearance are a direct response to the brief and its location in the historic heart of Doncaster. The building recognises the two existing geometries of High Fisher Gate and Church Way; two distinctive blocks follow the existing streetlines and are linked by a prow-like corner, which helps to reconcile the geometries and creates a distinct and recognisable landmark on the corner of Church Way and High Fisher Gate.
The elevations are arranged to express the spaces/uses enclosed, the projections in the building occur where the larger rooms are housed. These projections and the landmark corner are clad in copper to differentiate them from the rest of the building; whereas standard rooms are clad in terracotta and commercial and retail uses are clad in curtain walling.
Prominent areas of the façade are clad with pre-patinated copper. Cartwright Pickard wanted to investigate how the look of a site applied patina might be achieved in a factory. Three different intensities of patina flecks were created on a dark oxidised background to create the variation evident in the completed façade. Every panel was given a specific reference in order that the cladding could be built to our requirements. This is the first time that this finish has been used in the United Kingdom.
The use of copper helps to marry the contemporary building with its historic surroundings. The choice was governed by a desire to create a building which would age gracefully and require minimal maintenance.
The hotel has had an average occupancy of 70 to 80% since opening, and customer feedback on the building and its location is consistently good. The hotel’s image is used on Whitbread’s publicity material as well as James and Taylor’s (the terracotta cladding supplier).