Gus Alexander Architects


the spire being fitted

We had prepared a proposal to connect 7 Victorian houses in Smithfield into a hotel, and work was about to start when the LEB decided that they did not after all require a substation, and the plot at the end became available. We designed a five storey tower to reflect the Victorian industrial buildings nearby.

Cowcross street was where the drovers brought cows to be slaughtered, and we used the bovine theme as a decorative motif. 3 Hereford bull's heads were cast into the gables of the tower, and 3 cows' heads were cast into the brick piers below. These were all made from glass reinforced resin by the sculptor Lucy Glindinning.

The staircases were made out of steel to aid the construction process, but the treads were faced in old boards to provide the necessary creaking that is so popular in hotels made out of old buildings.

Exterior of The Rookery
Inside the spire at The Rookery

The tower was built out of salvaged bricks, and most of the internal joinery was made by the remarkable Charles Jarvis of Westbury who has a unique feel for the beauty of old furniture, and the ability to make it seem as though it has always been there even when much of it has been lost. The shop fronts at street level replace the 70's laundrettes

Exterior of The Rookery 2
The Rookery