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Gort Scott’s extension of listed Covent Garden tube station approved

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Gort Scott’s designs for a roof extension above the Grade II-listed Covent Garden tube station have been approved by Westminster councillors

The practice’s designs for Transport for London got the green light on Tuesday evening (4 September). The scheme will add a storey to the office building above the station entrance and ticket hall on Long Acre to provide 284m² of additional office space and renovate the existing offices. 

Gort Scott collaborated with engineers Elliott Wood to calculate the impact of the additional floor on the existing structure and Leslie Green’s 1904 station building.

Alongside the extension, the existing station façade will be enhanced, replacing windows installed in the building’s 1980s renovation with oiled timber windows to match Green’s design.

The colour of the faience panels has been specified to complement Green’s famous ‘oxblood’ tiling on the station.

Gort Scott architect Nicola Ibbotson said: ’The proposed extension tops the building, tying together the 1980s-style extension and listed base, echoing the material and colour of the station but simply articulated.

’Renovating the upper office floors and reinstating timber windows to the original design of the station, the proposals will significantly improve the existing building and this dynamic corner of Covent Garden.’

Architect’s view

Forward-looking and commercially minded, Leslie Green designed the two-storey station building as a plinth to enable future over-development. We collaborated with engineers Elliott Wood to calculate the impact of the additional floor on the existing structure. Although the station structure was designed to take the load of additional floors, the 1960s extension in loadbearing brick takes up significant capacity. The materials of the new extension have therefore been carefully selected.

Along with structural considerations, the materiality of the roof extension was chosen both to fit in with and enhance the materials of the building and context. Clad in faience panels, the extension follows the materiality of the station and a number of buildings along Long Acre and neighbouring James Street. The colour has further been considered to complement the red/orange bricks of floors two to four, ‘oxblood’ faience base of floors ground to first and tones of adjacent buildings. Our design incorporates a lighter and less saturated hue than the faience of the station building with some of the brick tone.

Alongside the major refurbishment and roof extension, the existing station façade will be enhanced, replacing the windows in the ground and first floors with oiled timber windows to the design of the original station. Using the same material, a new framed glazed door and windows will replace the dated and ageing metal and glass entrance infill to the office space upstairs.

Existing brick of the 1960s extension will be re-pointed and repaired where possible. Additionally, windows with blue and white decorative lintel panels, installed in the 1980s renovation, will be replaced with metal windows to match the tone of the timber windows in the station. In removing the decorative lintel panel the height of the glazing will be raised, elongating the panes resulting in windows with more elegant proportions.

Elongating the glazing will result in windows with more elegant proportions

The external works aim to bring the phases of development together into an intelligent building with a defined base, middle and top, the upper floors attentive to the listed station.

Currently there is no level access to the office floorspace above, so significant internal works are proposed to insert a compliant lift, locally lower the ground floor slab to meet street level and redesign the stair. Protected refuge space for wheelchair users by each escape stair on each floor, alongside sufficient corridor widths and turning circles to each floor, will further transform Long Acre into a wholly accessible building.

Targeting a BREEAM Very Good energy rating, low-carbon and renewable technologies such as photovoltaics are included. Alongside these go measures such as the replacement of existing heating/cooling and supply air systems with new, high-efficiency systems and careful environmental design of the office floors.

Roof material elevation with base

Roof material elevation with base

Project data

Practice Name Gort Scott Architects
Project Name Long Acre
Project location Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2
Client Transport for London
Planning approval September 2018
Structural engineer Elliott Wood
Service engineer OR Consulting Engineers
Cost consultant Arcadis
Planning consultant DP9
Heritage consultant Portico
Daylight and sunlight consultant GIA
Approved Inspector Approved Design
Fire Consultant The Fire Surgery


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