The Foundry will be torn down after Hackney Council last week granted permission for it to be replaced by a hotel and retail complex.
Developers plan to demolish the popular building despite it being part of what many hail as the heartbeat of London’s art scene.
English Heritage called the move “fundamentally flawed”, saying “there is no justification for a tall building of this nature in this location”.
Standing at 18-storeys, the tube-shaped hotel will be London’s first addition to the Art’otel chain. Along with 350 rooms, it will house a gallery, an art-house cinema and a spa, and will be clad in bronze-coloured anodised aluminium.
A spokesperson for the Park Plaza Group, the developers behind the plan, said the move represents “a very good opportunity to construct a world-class hotel in the area and definitely the employment opportunities will come up too.”
But the company’s upbeat assessment will strike a sour note with local residents, some of them among the three and a half thousand who joined the Save the Foundry Facebook group. The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment also voiced its disapproval.
The Foundry was established in 1998 by current managers Tracey and Jonathan Moberly with ex-KLF musician Bill Drummond. Pete Doherty’s poetry nights were held there, and it features one of Britain’s biggest Banksy murals.
The council intends to save the wall on which the six-metre rat is painted. However, for the rest of the building, the future has more in common with a sinking ship.
Additional reporting by Anna Haswell.