County Hall goes into the red for festive season

COUNTY HALL, former home of the Greater London Council, has been lit up red during the Christmas holiday, writes Jonathan Glancey. 'This is not meant to bring back memories of 'Red Ken',' said Geoff Mann, of Renton Howard Wood Levine, the architects converting the Edwardian baroque pile into a 570-bedroom hotel and cultural centre for the Shirayama Corporation of Osaka.

'You might say we've created the biggest red-light district in London, but the idea was Shirayama's London director, 'Mac' Toyota, and he just wanted the building to look festive. The Lighting Design Partnership covered existing lamps on the building with red filters and so now you have an architectural Christmas tree.'

County Hall was designed by Ralph Knott for the London County Council and built between 1908 and 1922 (with additions in the Thirties, Fifties and Seventies). The building's 700ft river front faces the Houses of Parliament across Westminster Bridge. County Hall was home to the LCC and its successor, the GLC, until the latter's abolition by Parliament in 1986. It opens as a hotel in May 1996.

(Photograph omitted)