Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Tonkin Liu wins £1m Mayfair club contest

  • Comment

Tonkin Liu has won a design competition for a new £1 million courtyard at the Lansdowne Club in London’s Mayfair

The practice was selected ahead of De Matos Ryan, Mary Duggan Architects, AY Architects, Jestico + Whiles, and Jan-Paul Coelingh to bag the commission.

The winning ‘Oval Court’ scheme, planned to start in January next year, will deliver a ‘light and delicate perforated canopy’ at the heart of the Robert Adam-designed building near Berkeley Square.

In a statement, the practice said: ‘Tonkin Liu are delighted and honoured to have been selected by the Lansdowne Club to deliver this ambitious project, and look forward with anticipation to deliver a project of beauty and permanence for this important landmark building in London.

Describing the scheme, Tonkin Liu said: ‘The proposed “Oval Court” is defined by a light and delicate perforate canopy inspired by Robert Adam’s love of nature and geometry. The proposal fulfills the key requirement for maximum openness and flexibility with maximum enclosure of heated internal space.

‘The delicate structure gives an open and airy impression even when the retractable double-glazed roof is closed. Four slender columns transfer the loads directly onto the existing structure. Two linear arcade gardens provide ventilation and bring nature into the “Oval Court.”’

The competition, which was run by consultant Khaa, set out to deliver a new flexible space within the historic club complex featuring a ‘light airy environment’ for its users.

The commission is part of a long-term regeneration strategy for the Grade II*-listed building developed by Jestico + Whiles four years ago. Shortlisted teams received an honorarium of £5,000 each.

Architects’ view

‘Oval Court’ is Tonkin Liu’s competition-winning proposal to infill the courtyard of the Grade II* Listed Lansdowne House with a light and delicate perforated canopy and a retractable double-glazed roof. The Robert Adam-designed building has been home to the Lansdowne Club since 1935. The design brief called for a delightful focal point and new multifunctional space for the courtyard that lies at the heart of the building.

The proposed ‘Oval Court’ is defined by a light and delicate perforate canopy inspired by Robert Adam’s love of nature and geometry. The proposal fulfills the key requirement for maximum openness and flexibility with maximum enclosure of heated internal space. The delicate structure gives an open and airy impression even when the retractable double-glazed roof is closed. Four slender columns transfer the loads directly onto the existing structure. Two linear arcade gardens provide ventilation and bring nature into the ‘Oval Court.’

The design proposal utilises a barrel-vaulted retractable glass roof to achieve both maximum openness and maximum enclosure. The delicate canopy structure below forms an oculus that creates an eye to the sky, under which a free plan can flexibly accommodate a range of functions.

Winner: Tonkin Liu

Winner: Tonkin Liu

Winner: Tonkin Liu

The canopy is fabricated from 3mm-thin perforated aluminium sheets, laser-cut and welded together to form an ultra-lightweight ceiling structure. It serves a number of functions including modulating light and sound, establishing visual and acoustic privacy for the rooms above, integrating lighting, and screening the structure and mechanics of the retractable roof. Inspired by Adam, the ceiling is also an artwork, a wonder of modern digital design and fabrication techniques, where structure, ornament and function become one.

The canopy is a ‘Shell Lace Structure’. It is derived from a biomimetic technique invented by Tonkin Liu and developed in collaboration with Arup over eight years of practice-based research. The advanced geometry of the curving and corrugated shell form is incredibly strong, digitally modelled iteratively to ensure each curving piece is optimised in strength and can be formed from flat sheets. Structural analysis and generative scripting is used to determine the perforation of the sheets with a pattern that responds locally to the stresses in each individual piece, enabling reductions in weight and load for maximum efficiency. The technique has been deployed by Tonkin Liu on the recently completed Solar Gate in Hull, and on the 40m tall Tower of Light in Manchester, which commences construction in summer 2018.

Like Adam, Tonkin Liu sees great ingenuity and beauty in the structural forms and patterns of nature. The new courtyard canopy will offer another layer to the rich heritage of the building, celebrating the elegance and efficiency of nature, in order to be both in keeping with Adam’s work and responsive to the tools and environmental sensitivities of our time.

Tonkin Liu are delighted and honoured to have been selected by the Lansdowne Club to deliver this ambitious project, and look forward with anticipation to deliver a project of beauty and permanence for this important landmark building in London.

The shortlist

AY Architects

Shortlisted: AY Architects

Shortlisted: AY Architects

Shortlisted: AY Architects

A minimal and slender garden room structure that responds to the building’s heritage though scale and careful column alignment. The design has a modular layered roof structure of glass panels, with slim glass fins and climbing plants to create a green canopy. A living embodiment of nature, referring to the Adam Room and its nature-based ceiling decoration. The proposal is set around a new courtyard adjacent to the listed façade.

De Matos Ryan

Shortlisted: De Matos Ryan

Shortlisted: De Matos Ryan

Shortlisted: De Matos Ryan

De Matos Ryan has created a new self-supporting lattice canopy of modular sections that can be assembled in situ. The canopy and floor both reference and reflect the geometric patterns of Adam’s work to create a new social space within the club. The structure is propped on minimal columns and a large proportion of the glass roof is retractable. To each side the team have created linear gardens planted and accessed through frameless glazed walls.

Jan Paul Coelingh with Aleksandra Waluda

Shortlisted: DC Studio

Shortlisted: Jan Paul Coelingh with Aleksandra Waluda

Shortlisted: Jan Paul Coelingh with Aleksandra Waluda

The proposal transforms the internal courtyard into an attractive new space for socialising and dining with open space at its heart. It adopts a strong architectural identity that respects the spatial qualities of the courtyard and its relationship to the club’s historic interiors and builds to the perimeter walls. The internal walls are glass and can be moved to allow a number of different configurations providing intimate dining spaces to the perimeter in the winter and allowing social activities throughout the space in the summer.

Jestico + Whiles

Shortlisted: Jestico + Whiles

Shortlisted: Jestico + Whiles

Shortlisted: Jestico + Whiles

The team proposes a landscaped palm court, a courtyard that echoes the bygone days of Art Deco splendour at the club. The proposal has a solid perimeter to the roof to accommodate a first floor balcony, with a retractable glazed roof to the centre. The new aperture has a large mirrored perimeter. The design seeks to catch views of the sky while masking the surrounding buildings. The underside of the roof is finished in undulating polished plaster to reflect light into the courtyard area. The space is visually enhanced with mirrored glass set within the brick arcades.

Mary Duggan Architects

Shortlisted: Mary Duggan Architects

Shortlisted: Mary Duggan Architects

Shortlisted: Mary Duggan Architects

A proposal that takes inspiration from the glasshouse structures of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, such as Kibble Palace in Glasgow. A lightweight new glazed waffle roof canopy and open garden at the heart of the club create a light filled garden room with planting proposed by Jinny Blom. The new external courtyard space, accessed through sliding glass partitions is set next to the original elevations to enhance the historic setting. The layered roof is modular with lighting built in and, at low level, scene-setting lighting is used to create a magical evening atmosphere.

Tonkin Liu

Shortlisted: Tonkin Liu

Shortlisted: Tonkin Liu

Shortlisted: Tonkin Liu

The Oval Court proposal from Tonkin Liu is defined by a light and delicate perforated canopy inspired by Robert Adam’s love of nature and geometry. The design allows for maximum openness and flexibility with a sliding glass roof to maximise flexibility. The delicate structure is designed to provide an open and airy impression even when the retractable double glazed roof is closed. Four slender columns transfer the loads directly onto the existing structure with two linear arcade gardens providing ventilation and bringing nature into the Oval Court.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.