Waterloo brings fresh air to an unloved London bank
Imagine jetting over from Australia to help transform an abandoned old bank in London into a five-star, award-winning hotel – bursting with architectural masterpieces.
That’s exactly what happened to Connan Brown, senior associate with multi-million pound global engineering consultancy, Norman Disney & Young, A Tetra Tech Company.
And to help transform the Grade I-listed building – overlooking the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral in the centre of London – air terminal devices were supplied by expert manufacturers Waterloo Air Products Plc.
“I had been keen to come over to the UK for some time,” explained Connan.
“And when I saw what was being planned for the disused bank building, I knew it was worth relocating the family to London.
“It was such an exciting venture and I was really keen to be part of it.”
With its vaulted ceiling, old wood-panelled offices and stone columns, work started in 2013 to transform the former Midland bank into a 1920s-style glamour hotel.
Each one of the 250 bedrooms and suites, ten restaurants, and the spa, gym and members’ club were fitted with various products from Waterloo.
What was paramount in every room, said Connan, is that the air flow enhanced the feel of luxury throughout the entire building.
Connan said: “You’ve only got to walk round the hotel to see that many of the Grade I-listed building’s original features remain perfectly intact.
“And thanks to Waterloo, who were very sympathetic to our requirements, we were able to work with the building’s striking heritage and create something truly unique.
“It was very important to us to work with a UK-based manufacturer who had a clear understanding of what we wanted to achieve at the hotel.
“We valued the Waterloo input and I must praise the technical support team for the assistance that they provided.
“All the grilles we fitted had to be in keeping with every single room and this was no easy task.
“As a Grade-I listed building, we had to ensure that the air terminal devices didn’t detract from the style.”
Nick Edwards, external sales agent for Waterloo, said The hotel project in London was really interesting.
He said: The challenge was the limited areas to introduce air grilles in such an old building – formally the Midland Bank.
“We understand the challenges in complex renovations like this.
“Some of our products were cleverly hidden behind existing brass grilles. Testing was done in the Waterloo lab to ensure the strict specification of low regeneration noise and correct comfort conditions achieved.
“It was good to be involved and the hotel looks absolutely stunning.”
The hotel had been empty for eight years – now it’s packed with period features.
You’ll find original, double height, wrought iron windows casting light throughout the building and if you take a closer look in the Grand Banking Hall, you’ll see their domed design.
Look up at the ceiling in The Saloon, and the golden monograms that punctuate the ceiling read MB – for Midland Bank.
And standing guard at the doorway to what was once the director’s boardroom – now The Tapestry Room on the sixth floor – are two ornate walnut cupboards.
Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens – an English architect known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era – they were used to store top hats and walking canes during important board meetings in the bank!
Connan said: “The hotel has won awards and I feel really proud to have been involved.
“I spent five years of my life focused on the project and the result is absolutely stunning.”
Norman Disney & Young, A Tetra Tech Company, is a global engineering consultancy, passionate about providing solutions that improve the value, reliability and efficiency of clients’ projects.