Revitalised Urban Block in London
Eric Parry Architects (EPA) has recently completed the revitalisation of an urban block in Mayfair, London. The scheme consists of two new commercial buildings, sensitively merging these with existing residential terrace and retail spaces.
The design, for client Scottish Windows, aimed to retain elements of the urban fabric that were integral to the character of the area, creating high-quality spaces for business, retail, and living whilst also significantly enhancing the public realm. Eric Parry Architects has achieved this through considered and inventive design that remains specific to its context whist having an uplifting affect upon it.
The development consists of three connected buildings that span New Bond Street, Maddox Street, and St. George Street. The project repairs an urban block in a prominent destination known for its distinctive retail, residential and commercial architecture, incorporating retained Regency and Hanoverian facades alongside contemporary responses to the urban fabric and its heritage.
50 New Bond Street
To the western side of the block on New Bond Street, EPA has built a new office building (50 New Bond Street). Above 1090 sq m of retail space at the base of the building are five floors of office space which merge with the neighbouring listed building to create unified, expansive floorplates, totalling 3088 sq m.
The façade of 50 New Bond Street echoes the intricately detailed neighbouring buildings. It is clad in ceramic which has been coated with a complex glaze that increases the reflectivity of the material. Running between the curved glass oriel windows are fins that add depth to the facade, animating and adding a richness to the surface. The oriel windows are floor to ceiling, meaning users can “step in” to the street and take in more of the streetscape below. The result is a lively façade that changes in different qualities of light.
A competition was held to select an artist to create an artwork for the façade. The winner, Martin Richman, responded to faience façade with 107 programmable 1 watt LEDs that light 50 Bond Street with a number of dynamic programmes that further animates the façade.
The south side of the project, on Maddox Street, is a Regency terrace, which links the differing character and history of the east and west sides of the site.
Retail units can be found at ground and basement levels with luxury apartments, refurbished and refitted by EPA, above. In total they are 18 apartments, ranging from a three bedroom family duplex apartments to studio flats.
Next to the regency terrace, EPA has designed new office space that connects to the terraces on St. George Street to the East. This replaces a concrete building that intruded on to the pavement. The new design realigns the building with the neighbouring structures, creating uninterrupted flow along the street. Above street level is a cantilevered black aluminium and glass block façade which is suspended over the streetscape. This elevation frees the pavement below, creating unhindered views along the street from the east to west sides of the site and also allows light to reach the lower ground floor of the building.
On the underside of the cantilevered structure is a mosaic sculpture by Antoni Malinowski. The multicoloured piece reflects the spectrum of colours found in the surrounding urban fabric whilst also linking visually to the glass bricks used above. Both of the project’s artwork is consistent with Eric Parry’s track record of collaborating with artists to enhance the public realm; the practice has previously worked with renowned artists Joel Shapiro, Richard Deacon, and Shirazeh Houshiary.
St George Street
To the east of the urban block, on St George Street, Eric Parry Architects has restored three terraced houses of a Hanoverian terrace, sensitively adding another floor and new roof.
The practice’s design preserves the differing character of the two sides of the site: 50 New Bond Street is consistent with the high-end fashion world whilst the refurbishment of the St George Street element of the scheme is in keeping with the more conservative architecture of the terrace, consisting of red brick, slate roofs with mansard and dormer windows. The façade has been retained whilst the interior has been stripped out. Original features, such as the listed panelling, have been incorporated alongside contemporary interior fittings.
All new office spaces have opening windows, creating mixed mode ventilation, and are connected to a sophisticated building management system. For a bustling part of London, the interior spaces are quiet and tranquil. Eric Parry Architects has used a rich palette of materials throughout the development. In the St Georges Street element of the scheme, the desk is made from bronze and walnut which complement the Purbeck stone floors and the beautiful polished black limestone in the lift lobby.
Galleries, with timber mullions, run along the side of the building for maintenance walkways and also work as solar shading. At the heart of the urban block is an inner court yard that backs on to the regency terrace of Maddox Street, creating outdoor terraces for the offices on New Bond Street and St George Street. These external areas were key to the design as they created a range of calm spaces at the heart of this complex, busy site, illustrating the practice’s holistic approach to creating interactive spaces.
The development was awarded BREAAM excellent, demonstrating the practice’s commitment to designing responsible buildings. Key to achieving these sustainability credentials was the reuse of materials wherever possible and the design of flexible, efficient floor plans.
The project incorporates biodiversity brown roofs with plants, logs and sand, helping create habitats for plants and includes bat and swift boxes. Also on the roof are Photovoltaic solar panels that are used to heat all the hot water for the development. Mixed mode ventilation was also key to making the development energy efficient.
Eric Parry Architects’ repair of this urban block is consistent with practice’s approach to designing beautifully detailed and flexible buildings. Through creating high-spec office, retail, and residential spaces, the practice has revitalised a collection of previously rundown buildings, knitting three streets together whilst preserving the urban identity of each one.