198 - 202 Piccadilly
Description of the Scheme This new replacement building is a mixed retail and office complex at the heart of London’s West End. It occupies the eastern end of the urban block comprising 198-207 Piccadilly and 25-34 Jermyn Street and faces three ways; north onto Piccadilly, south onto Jermyn Street and west onto Church Place, an important pedestrian link between the two main streets. Following the granting of planning permission for the building, a significant challenge was set; “to construct a traditional classical style office development in the centre of London within a very tight budget`. The works comprised of demolition of an existing seven-storey building and the construction of a new building on a very tight inner city site, building fully to the boundaries on all sides. The building rises over eight storeys and has a gross external floor area of 11,340m2. The total cost for the shell and core, excluding the internal fit out by MAKE is approximately £20 million. The scheme is a modern classical design that complements the character of its surroundings whilst maintaining a distinct identity and strong, innovative character The site is highly sensitive. Not only is Piccadilly one of the most important and best-known thoroughfares in London but on one side, it is adjacent to St James Church by Sir Christopher Wren of c.1676. On the other side, it abuts the old Simpson’s building, a pioneering Modernist building of c.1935 now occupied by Waterstones, It was therefore essential that the design approach was underpinned by a thorough, in-depth analysis of the city centre, urban context and character of the urban block. Careful consideration was given as to how to respond to the urban scales of the buildings on Piccadilly, the massing of the surrounding streetscape and the hierarchy and scale of the important neighbouring buildings. The ground floor is split into two separate levels that reflect the 1.8m change in pavement level across the site from Piccadilly to Jermyn Street. The ground, mezzanine and part of the first floor are for retail use and the upper six floors are office space, with the principal retail frontage onto Piccadilly. A smaller retail unit, consistent in scale with the existing units along the street, faces onto Jermyn Street. All retail units have display windows onto Church Place. Plant and service areas are provided below ground in a two-storey basement and at rooftop level. The building is designed to express the prestige of the area and the high quality of the accommodation, making full use of traditional classical techniques to fit into its varied urban setting. Each façade is carefully modulated with increasing and decreasing detail to reflect the changes in character between the different streets; Piccadilly has full classical detail while Jermyn Street is more restrained and, in between, the detail is all but removed in Church Place. Although varied to carefully reflect the changing street hierarchy, each façade is part of a unified and dynamic architectural whole. In keeping with its urban pre-eminence in the street hierarchy, the Piccadilly façade is a formal classical elevation of layered superimposed orders, aedicular windows with sculptured detail and cast metal decoration. The upper four floors of office space are behind a façade of literate classical architectural layers reflecting the character of architectural detail in the existing streetscape. A principal (male) order of rusticated columns and cornice contains a secondary (female) order of sandstone pilasters The principal cornices reflect the oversailing horizontal roof of neighbouring Waterstone’s. Second floor and fifth floor level aedicular windows provide street level and skyline detail in keeping with the existing streetscape. Both floor levels of retail space on the Piccadilly side are contained by a rusticated double height order base and entablature and tertiary order of shop fronts. This façade provided an exciting opportunity to integrate fine art naturally into the classical design, as is appropriate for this important city centre site. The design therefore included cast bronze Column capitals in the form of human heads commissioned from the leading classical sculptor Alexander Stoddart. At 3rd floor level the small herm pilaster capital is the head of Eleos, “the God of Mercy` (CLEMENS) and the large herm capital at 4th floor level is the head of Andrea “Goddess of Courage` (AVDAX). Similarly large crested dormer windows and ten-foot high urns help to create a dramatic silhouette against the sloping copper roof. The remaining bronze work was from Robert Adam’s design. At sixth floor level, a delicate rooftop pavilion has a central solid core surrounded by a lightweight colonnade of slender metal columns in front of a glazed screen. The corner of Church Place and Piccadilly is an important block in the otherwise continuous street wall of Piccadilly and this is therefore marked by a powerful corner tower, octagonal in form. The structure is surmounted by a shallow pitched copper roof adorned with acroteria and a tall finial. This is in the tradition of rooftop buildings, with delicate detailing adding character to the skyline from distant vistas and adjoining buildings. All of the main architectural elements on the façades are constructed in natural Portland stone with some areas of incised decoration. This includes the rusticated giant order and base, the entablatures, columns, facing panels, and the octagonal and curved bay. Some features are constructed in various types of Chinese granite including rustication at low level, granite aedicles over second floor windows, clerestory window columns, columns to the octagonal tower, fifth floor dormer window crests to the Piccadilly elevation and the main office entrance on Jermyn Street. Natural French limestone is used on pilasters and urns on the Piccadilly elevation. Cast bronze was used for other façade details including the column capitals, pilaster bases, urn bases and tops. Varying the colour and finish of each casting has created a subtle polychromatic façade. Window frames are metal and bronze in colour. Shop fronts will be subject to tenant fit-out but are contained within the base of rusticated stone columns and entablature.


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