Transforming The Hippodrome
Planning, Building & Renovating
The reopening of the casino marks a new beginning for The Hippodrome. When work started on the £40m project to transform this landmark building into The Hippodrome Casino in 2009, owners Simon and Jimmy Thomas vowed to do as much as they could to repair the damage done to the building over the years as it evolved to adapt to new styles of entertainment.
Paula Reason, the architect behind the Hippodrome’s transformation, said her team’s biggest challenge was the unknowns in tackling a building that had been covered up and pulled apart again for more than 100 years.
The project was also guided by the UK’s foremost Feng Shui expert Paul Darby to make the building luckier for owner and visitor alike. Said Paul: “We inherited a fantastic statue, a horse and charioteer, sited at the very top of the building by the original architect, Frank Matcham. This figure is a sign of success and determination, and I am always seeking to incorporate something from the original building in any designs for an old building’s new use”. Which is why this has been incorporated into the new logo for the company, and sits atop the entrance to the Casino.
During the planning process for the Casino, the Directors became aware that London’s Chinese community centre, which was set up over 25 years ago to provide support and information services to the Chinese community, faced an uncertain future as notice had been received of the termination of the lease on its existing premises. The Directors saw an opportunity to help the community and offered a 20 year rent free lease on space within The Hippodrome. The community centre now sits within the Hippodrome walls but is totally independent of the Casino and is accessed through its own dedicated entrance in Leicester Court.