The State House Hotel is a proposed adaptive re-use of a prominent colonial building in Yangon, Myanmar. Located along Strand Road at the east corner of Sule Pagoda Road, it is one of many historic colonial buildings in the Kyauktada Township, including the City Hall, the High Court and The Strand.
Currently known as the Yangon Division Office Complex, the building houses the law courts for Yangon’s North and East divisions as well as the police posts. Built between 1927 and 1931, it was designed by Thomas Oliphant Foster with a framework structure requiring almost 3,000 tonnes of steel. The existing building consists of five storeys, two open-air atriums and a colonnade of ionic columns spanning three storeys high.
The design direction was to maintain the integrity of the building form, as well as the quality of the interior space while fulfilling the functional requirements of a luxury hotel development. In terms of site planning, two basement car parks were proposed to be extended under Sule Pagoda Road and Bank Street, away from the existing structural elements to maintain the structural integrity of the heritage building.
Four drop-off points were introduced along the four boundary roads to provide access to the different functions located at the ground floor such as the 1,000-seater ballroom, speciality restaurants, cafes and retail shops. The ground floor is zoned as public, while the private areas of the hotel begin on the first storey at the lobby and reception area.
The proposal also included a glass roof over the two existing open-air atriums to provide shelter for all internal function spaces while maintaining the quality of natural light filtering through the building. In order to achieve the functional efficiency of a hotel, the existing floor plates were extended over selected portions of the atrium from ground to the second floor to satisfy operational requirements, while introducing courtyard greenery in the dining areas. By doing so, the original single-loaded corridor could now accommodate rooms facing both the external views and the internal courtyard view. Green spaces were also introduced between the courtyard-facing rooms to allow natural light to reach the inner recesses of the corridor.
The fifth storey is dedicated to hotel amenities such as the spa, gym and swimming pool, together with the suite rooms, to afford hotel guests more privacy and a better view of the surroundings. The pool is set back intentionally from the building façade edge to maintain the façade’s architectural composition from Strand Road.
With the lifting of sanctions on Myanmar, Yangon, it’s largest city and business centre, is gradually emerging into a world of hyper-accelerated economic activity. The hotel development when completed will cater to the expected flow of international travellers searching for luxurious accommodation with world-class amenities and business conveniences – while incorporating interior design elements inspired from the local context such as the handicraft, materials and motifs unique to the Myanmar people. This synergy of old and new, international and local influences reflects the direction that Yangon is heading towards on its path of urban renewal.