The complex is a mix of both reworked and new buildings, centred around a courtyard
Floral Court combines retail and leisure space with 45 apartments arranged in a mix of contemporary and historic buildings – providing visitors and businesses with more coherent pedestrian connections.
Floral Court was developed after Capital & Counties Properties (Capco) acquired the Covent Garden Estate in 2006. At that point, Floral Street was dominated by a bulky 1980s office that was judged to sit uncomfortably within its conservation area setting, offering limited connections to surrounding streets. So Capco and KPF worked together on an analysis of the area, looking at enhancing placemaking as part of a wider masterplan, before this scheme was developed.
The new building that KPF designed to replace the office block is intended to pick up on traditional architectural elements in the area, using façades of handmade brick and steel-framed windows. These are most noticeable where Floral Street turns a corner, with the façade composed of a tall stack of box-like bay windows, completing the long view from James Street.
At the centre of the scheme is a courtyard – formerly an inaccessible service yard – where the architect has raised the level to form a new public space halfway between King Street and Floral Street, with access to both. This is filled with mature trees and planters, while above the balconies, terraces and rooftop gardens of the surrounding apartments form step-backs and recesses.
The new-build apartments are accessed from Floral Street via an entrance building that reuses the listed former boardroom of the Westminster Fire Office, which has been fully restored. Part of the scheme has also reintroduced residential use to the upper storeys of the Grade II-listed Georgian terrace on King Street.
Beneath the entire complex of new and old buildings is a unified basement housing a central plant and service area for the homes, shops and restaurants.
Floral Court is an assemblage of old and new, a contemporary layer woven into the historic fabric. Our intention was for Floral Court to serve as a sustainable model for regeneration in a conservation area.
We considered the site as a whole, explored opportunities to enhance this particular block and investigated how these interventions would in turn affect the wider area. We looked at every level, from the small scale, such as the restoration of a heraldic crest, to the creation of an entirely new public space.
The courtyard is both a new pedestrian route through the city and a refuge from the busyness of Covent Garden’s main thoroughfares. We analysed historic passages in the district to set the human scale of the entrances to this space.
At KPF we’re proud of the work we’ve done with Capco in Covent Garden to transform the area and, with our office located just around the corner, we enjoy the improvements on a daily basis.
Brian Girard, design principal, KPF
Kpf floral court ground floor plan
Start on site December 2014
Completion July 2018
Gross internal floor area 7,855m²
Form of contract Design & Build
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Client Capital & Counties Properties (Capco)
Main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine
M&E Hoare Lea
Heritage consultant Donald Insall Associates
Structural engineer Waterman Group
Façade engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan
Project manager GVA Second London Wall
Public realm Publica
Townscape consultant Miller Hare
Transport consultant WSP
Planning consultant Gerald Eve