Modern structure and glazed facade, sensitively integrated with Covent Garden Market’s historical building fabric to provide a new fine dining restaurant.

Covent Garden Market is one of the most famous locations in central London. The Market Building is Grade II* listed and its extensive array of granite column colonnades dates to 1828, when permanent buildings were constructed to occupy a site that had been in use as a fruit and vegetable market since the 17th century. The East Terrace, also known as the Opera Terrace, has been redeveloped, with a new glazed space 50 metres long that creates a fine dining restaurant to replace the existing outdated structure.

Eckersley O’Callaghan provided structural and facade engineering services as part of this transformation. We carried out a careful examination of the historical fabric, the terrace itself consisting of stone slabs supported on iron beams and the granite columns, to justify the loads of the new structure and to create new circulation and back-of-house facilities with integrated services. A new steel beam and lightweight metal web timber joist was designed to span with minimal depth above the existing York stone terrace.

The new main space was developed with Eric Parry Architects, leading to exposed duplex stainless steel trussed frames of complex geometry. The pitch height changes along its length to reflect and respect external views of the sculptural figures decorating the east-facing end of the central market hall. There are complex resulting interfaces of the new structure with the existing historical fabric throughout.

We advised on the specification of all glazing elements, including coatings and external shading required to deal with solar gain. This included bespoke opening door systems and the entire secondary support and weatherproofing system. The glazing specification also had to deal with areas of double curved and laminated insulated glazing units for the stepping geometry of the envelope.

London, UK


Eric Parry Architects

Grant Smith | Eckersley O’Callaghan