My usual practice for coverage of a Design Review Panel hearing is a more traditional journalistic format of quotations with connecting sentences; in this instance doing so would not fully inform readers as to how this project is proceeding at City Hall.
The Beverley Hotel is a proposed conversion of 62-64 King Street East into a 20-room boutique hotel. Patrick Bermingham is the owner, Bill Curran is the architect, and each on their own have strong artist and design ideas, combined they’ve created an interesting design proposal for the building which sits on the north side of Gore Park nearly directly across from the Cenotaph.
The Beverly Hotel is his first, alongside a partner, major investment in Downtown Hamilton. Bermingham spoke about his vision for the hotel to an attentive Design Review Panel, who appeared to be sizing up this man who does not fit the traditional owner/investor profile. Bermingham himself, adding to answers that Curran gave the DRP, asked a few times if he could speak at DRP.
This DRP meeting was an exchange of ideas and questions; both the DRP and Curran have seemed to find an understanding of each other. Curran came in with a strong, a few members of DRP described it as “bold”, concept for the design of The Beverley Hotel, but not his final version – he was open to DRP’s comments.
DRP members tossed questions at Curran which gave him opportunity to explain his ideas, and followed with comments to give Curran ideas to consider. Curran responded in kind, not becoming defensive or aggressive. Curran’s initial presentation was strong, and arguing to the extreme at times, as Curran is known to do.
Much of the discussion focused on three design considerations: interaction with Gore Park’s Veteran’s Place, the proposed balcony and its conceptional statue, and a proposed canopy over the entire hotel – discussion of all three was interrelated.
How will the balcony and statue interact with the Cenotaph? Much discussion about this, ideas exchanged. In the end, the statue may not make it to the final design – we’ll have to wait and see.
Discussion of the balcony included encroachment agreements and winter control, such as ice control.
The canopy dominated much of the discussion, primarily due to its significant departure from the design aesthetic of the Downtown and older buildings of the Gore Park district, and the shadows the canopy will cast onto Gore Park.
Many members of the panel expressed various thoughts about the necessity of the canopy, with comments that the building already has unique design accents proposed, and one specifically noting that the canopy could block rain from falling onto the building’s green roof.
Comments on the proposed design of the new buildings were very positive, many of the members remarking very positively that the owner and architect plan to restore the existing facade.
Overall, the project is moving forward, with Bermingham, Curran, and the City’s Chief Planner Steve Robichaud left to work out what to do about the canopy, bridge, and if they’ll be a sculpture.