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Make creates public square within new St James’s office development


Make has completed two complementary but contrasting buildings – one with a striking deco-lite façade – which anchor a new public space south of Piccadilly in London

Together, the two buildings – 1 St James’s Market (1SJM) and 2 St James’s Market (2SJM) – accommodate 210,000 sqft of Class A office space, six ground-floor retail spaces and seven new restaurants. These are set within over half an acre of revitalised public space, re-establishing a focus to the historic St James’s Market district which had until recently become an area of rundown backstreet service yards and taxi rat-runs.

The scheme, undertaken as a joint venture between the Crown Estate and Oxford Properties, is part of a strategy to enhance the St James’s area as a catalyst to wider regeneration. 
The two buildings differ yet are complementary in style. 1SJM is cloaked in a late 19th-century Grade II-listed Beaux Arts façade, with mansard roof and Portland-stone cladding, while 2SJM has a rounded, more flowing organic façade, with ribbons of Portland stone wrapping around it.

Together they create new public space between and around them. 
As part of this and in the scheme as a whole, public art has been incorporated prominently. There is an ‘art pavilion’ designed by Studio Weave, which sits at the south-eastern corner of the square, while four pieces of public seating, designed by Studio Swine, pick up in their design the trades and history of the area. Artist David Thorpe has also made an art wall of ceramic tiles on the façade of 1SJM, while two distinctive backlit leather pieces sit in its lobby.

SJM 2  c Rory Gardiner

SJM 2 c Rory Gardiner

Source: Rory Gardiner

Architect’s view

The late 19th-century, Grade-II listed facade of 1SJM addresses Regent Street St James’s in the Beaux Art style found along much of Regent Street. With its classical Portland stone frontage, slate mansard roof and punched windows, it has an air of solidity and grandeur, with at ground floor, impressive 7.5m-high bronze shopfronts. 

The building required a large amount of restoration work, particularly on the roof, where the mansards were raised 1.2m to allow for 2.7m minimum floor-to-ceiling heights. Careful work on certain elements was undertaken by specialists to reinstate the diminishing slate design on the mansard, the dormer lead work, timber window mouldings and ornate lead cartouches. 

The Portland stone façades have been extensively cleaned and restored, and together with the new stone façade on St James’s Market, provide varying smooth-textured finishes distinguishing old from new. An eight-storey glass-fin wall with encapsulated woven copper mesh 
highlights the entrance and stands within the new square to demarcate where the retained façade stops and new façade begins. The fin-wall flows into the building, becoming the soffit of the double-height reception lobby continuing the external material palette with soft pale limestone complemented by dark textured floor and champagne coloured metal trims.

Beyond the stone ribbed ceiling, visitors are drawn through to the back of the reception lobby where a white suspended Corian stair is flooded with natural light from the rooflight above and accented by bespoke lighting.

The smaller of the two buildings – 2SJM – addresses Haymarket and has a more contemporary, organic form that responds to the eclectic architectural style of the area. It is clad in curving open ribbons of Portland stone inlaid with metal bands: a strong contrast to the rectilinear expression of 1SJM, though the materials clearly connect the two.

The curved wrapping bands take a different form within the building using timber to add warmth and intimacy to the smaller scaled reception. Fully visible from the square, the timber wall transforms to incorporate the recreation desk and seating area. Wrapped on all sides in full-height glazing, it celebrates quality materials and craftsmanship.

The column-free offices are designed for flexibility and provide all the modern standards associated with a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ office.

Public realm is central to the scheme. A new 10,200 sqft pedestrianised public space sits at the heart of the development, and includes the northern portion of St Alban’s Street and all of Norris Street. Pavements along Regent Street and Haymarket have been resurfaced and widened. St Alban’s Street and the central square have been repaved in Yorkstone, which features granite ribbons and metal plaque inlays denoting the re-established St James’s Market. 

00600 00 n210

00600 00 n210

Source: Make Architects

Site plan

Project data

Start on site October 2013
Completion October 2016
Building/site area 34,000m² / 366,000 sqft (35,000 sqft of public realm)
Architect Make Architects
Structural engineer Waterman Structures
M&E engineer AECOM
Contractor Balfour Beatty
Development manager Hanover Cube
Cost consultant Gardiner & Theobald
Planning consultant CBRE
Fire engineer Ramboll Fire
Acoustics consultant Clarke Saunders
Transport and landscape consultant Atkins
Artists David Thorpe, Studio Swine, Studio Weave
Project manager Hanover Cube
CDM coordinator Gardiner & Theobald
Approved building inspectorAIS


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