Pavilion with Restaurant and Gallery
Location: Marble Arch, London
Status: Finalist in invited competition
Marble Arch Pavilion, London, 2016, invited competition for developer Almacantar to provide a café/restaurant, gallery and event space on the Marble Arch traffic island.
The new pavilion is intended to be a tool to regenerate the Marble Arch traffic island and improve the urban experience by strengthening its connection with Hyde Park, Oxford Street and the West End. Presently the site is challenged by heavy traffic, noise and air pollution, and a lack of any meaningful uses. However, it is an exceptionally central location that benefits from a beautiful treescape, waterscape and public plaza with John Nash’s triumphal arch, a great opportunity to be transformed into an urban oasis and gateway to Hyde Park.
The competition site is confined to an un-used open two-storey deep void adjacent to the pool. The space connected underground maintenance facilities to Hyde Park via a redundant pedestrian underpass.
Central to our scheme is the creation of a new pedestrian promenade as a protected route crossing the site to link the end of Oxford Street with Hyde Park. The promenade passes between the east of the pavilion building and raised planting bed and pool, as a public terrace served by a restaurant/café with outlook over the plants, fountains, public plaza and Marble Arch beyond.
The lightweight glazed pavilion is designed with a layered transparent skin with glimmering internal translucent curtains. The curved end of the upper gallery space cantilevers out to the north as a prominent visible form sitting amongst the trees seen from the end of Oxford Street.
The building has a poetic shimmering aesthetic sensitively nestled with the urban setting and in conversation with Almacantar’s Marble Arch Place seen to the north. Its pronounced lines and pure forms are coupled with expressed shallow vaulted ceilings and internal timber finishes. The design references British romanticism and light framed buildings in botanic gardens and parks, elegant steel framed glass houses and Victorian conservatories. The building is both reflective and complementary depending on the time of day. Transparency, translucency, colour and lightness carefully expand the atmosphere of waterscape, trees, plants and surrounding city.