No building is an island, least of all Corporation Street Hotel, historic Rochester’s newest hotel to be. Positioned next to the town’s brand new high-speed rail link, and to all intents and purposes a design that experiments beautifully as a building of two halves, the head linked by a first storey glass link to the main body of the hotel, it is in fact the perfect example of the building as picture frame.


Here, instead of dwelling inwardly on its function as a futuristic 100-bed railway station hotel, or on a structure whose form will captivate arrivals, it is the most generous of buildings, one that gives itself over – brick by brick – to something else entirely. Much more than providing for a new and suitably grand passageway from station to town centre, the two halves of Corporation Street Hotel frame the town’s greatest asset: Rochester Cathedral.

Dedicated to this most extraordinary of manmade views, the hotel goes even further. The concrete fluted panels decorating its external walls are a direct echo of the cathedral’s own design motifs. Its colouring complements perfectly that of the cathedral. Its windows and rooftop bar reinforce the original picture frame, providing guests with even more of the cathedral.

In short, Corporation Street an extraordinarily civil building, the most marvellous of concrete town criers, one that announces nothing about itself, and everything about the cathedral town that gives it reason for being – now and in the future.