Complex structural refurbishment of a historic building in the central market plaza of Covent Garden with carefully integrated large glazed roof to courtyard and two structural glass staircases.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Mark Pinney Associates
Originally built by William Cubitt in 1876, Bedford Chambers had been much altered over the years. The work on the property was a careful restoration of the existing fabric, together with some radical work to make the building suitable to house the largest retail space of any of Apple’s stores. It comprises three floors of retails space, basement back of house and three floors of offices above.
Previous alterations to the building had been insensitively designed, with very obtrusive structural interventions. Much work was carried out in removing these works and replacing them with more carefully considered elements of structure which were discretely integrated into the historic fabric, whilst at the same time opening up the spaces and strengthening where necessary.
Cast iron columns were cut down in some areas, with base details re-fabricated and re-attached to alter floor levels and improve ceiling heights.
A spectacular new skylight was designed over the restored internal courtyard to form the hub of the whole building. The top chords of the trusses were machined from single sections of stainless steel which integrated lighting, smoke detection and sprinklers.
Two glass staircases were designed, one a spiral and one a unique straight stair which sits in a newly enclosed lightwell, seamlessly hitting the London Stock brickwork walls around it.
‘It was difficult to imagine that the matchless central London ground of Covent Garden Market and the Royal Opera could be augmented by a retail establishment with similar magnetism, but the Apple Store has achieved that – with a replenishing yet sleekly modern design that richly deserves the success it has engendered’
Westminster Society Biennial Award for Architecture
1-7 The Piazza