The Wheatbaker Hotel design honours an existing Art Deco heritage house while meeting the client’s design intention of creating a hotel whose public functions serve the greater community.
In 2007, Co-Arc International was approached by Legacy Group to continue the development of an existing hotel project on Ikoyi Island in Lagos, Nigeria. The inherited development included a 1930s Art Deco heritage house and a three-story, partially-built wing of rooms.
The house was built by Amos Shackleford, a local bread baker. This heritage was used to coin the name The Wheatbaker. The local planning authority stipulated that as much of the original house be kept as possible. The curved facade at the heart of the building became the grand reception of the hotel, and the existing burnt-orange colour remained. The footprint and slabs of the room wing were retained, but were re-engineered to allow for five storeys of rooms.
As Hotel Design Architects Co-Arc housed the public functions in two new wings either side of the curved entrance. These include the restaurant, bars, deli, award-winning conference facilities, ballroom, and gym and spa. One of the new wings created a link between the existing house and the hotel rooms. This spatial arrangement allowed for a swimming pool nestled in a courtyard between the rooms and restaurants. With only 60 rooms, it was imperative for the success of the project that the hotel become a destination for the local community. The ambiance and excellence of the public functions enabled this, and today the facilities are enjoyed by travellers and locals alike. It is this design experience, inherent at Co arc International Architects in Johannesburg that allows us to produce such high quality Hospitality Architecture.
The onerous heritage requirements of the development made the design process seem impossible at the time, but with the vital collaboration of local firm FMA Architects on the ground, the hotel was a great success and has become an icon of Lagos culture. It is often that an Architect designs beyond what seems impossible, and at Co-Arc, as Hotel design Architects our experience has been that through perseverance, collaboration and enthusiasm design possibilities emerge that were not seen before. Collaboration is a key aspect of this project, since as Architects in Johannesburg, we needed the help of local architects to help make the project such a success.