The project is the redevelopment of a prominent site on Long Acre, in the heart of London’s Covent Garden. It creates a 20,000ft² retail and office development over six floors. The facility features an imposing 11m wide double height glass, stone and bronze façade.
The brief required retail space at lower ground, ground and first floor levels with office space at second, third and fourth floors. The ground floor with its address on Long Acre and Garrick Street gives an opportunity for a clarification of the entrance sequences, with retail frontage on to Long Acre and a dedicated office entrance from Garrick Street.
The office floors make maximum use of the available daylight via the two main elevations as well as two lightwells. This allows a well lit deep plan space. At fourth floor level the plan shape differs towards the eastern light well. The setback forms a roof terrace and the roof design allows for rights of light to be maintained. The fourth floor interior space differs from those floors below due to the asymmetric curve of the roof and the interior expression of the supporting structure.
The façade design is a direct response to the internal arrangement of uses. On Long Acre the retail and office uses are separated by an Indiana Limestone load-bearing arch at second floor level. The arch is restrained on either side by large solid masonry piers that resist the structural thrust of the arch and act as transition pieces to the adjacent buildings.
The masonry piers create a framework for the new building within the streetscape. Below the stone arch, the large glazed shop front at first and ground floor levels allow for a direct line of communication between the street and the internal retail space. A similar approach is applied to the Garrick Street façade. However, below the stone arch the glazing differs between first and ground floors, via a bronze spandrel panel which reflects the different uses of office entrance and retail space. On Garrick Street the roof remains symmetrical to address the more sober characteristics of Garrick Street.
The lightwell elevations are simpler; rendered walls are punctuated by areas of glass block allowing high levels of light transmittance into the office floors, minimising overlooking from the new building. This enhances the environment for adjoining owners and improves on the existing building where privacy has been compromised.
The new building is a direct response to the restraints of the site. It offers an enhanced environment for its retail and office occupants and the Covent Garden streetscape. Externally the façades have been developed from a specific brief and reflect the high quality of the neighbouring buildings. They exhibit a diversity of materials and a level of structural integrity that create interest and depth through their details.
Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (International) PA
Quantity Surveyor: Gardiner & Theobald
Structural: Faber Maunsell
Electrical & Mechanical: Faber Maunsell
City Authorities: City of Westminster
Planning Consultants: Montagu Evans (UK)