Duke of York Restaurant

  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain
  • © James Britain

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Highly Commended

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Kensington & Chelsea

Information about this scheme

The Duke of York Restaurant provides a thriving new leisure destination and public roof garden in the heart of Chelsea, and is a key component in the redevelopment of Duke of York Square and a positive contribution to the wider public realm enhancements along King’s Road. The building represents a thoughtful approach to the adjacent Grade II listed wall of the Saatchi Gallery, offering a contemporary continuation of this with its ribbon-like form. Defined by a slender off-white concrete wall, the restaurant’s façade features an elegant colonnade arrangement. Set within this are a series of generous, retractable glass panels, completely opening up the ground floor space during fine weather and allowing the restaurant – now known as ‘Vardo’ to spill onto the surrounding Square. The restaurant is the first example of a retractable curved glass system in the world, while celebrating a mechanism that is as strikingly simple as a weighted sash window, sliding down gracefully into a basement trench. Here, specially designed retracting cills prevent objects falling into the glazing trench, while creating a fully level threshold to the surrounding square. A gently curving staircase leads to a timber-decked roof garden above the restaurant and a passenger lift is provided to allow all levels to be fully accessible. Open freely to the public and accessed independently from the space below, this garden offers a comfortable place to sit, relax and find new connections with their historical surroundings. Large planters introduce luscious herbal planting, promoting biodiversity and encouraging people to spend time among greenery and tree canopies, raised up from the bustle below. Inside, the curved outer shell culminates in the concrete service core, while delicate structural arches offer a sense of spaciousness and echo the patterning found in the polished reveals of the colonnade. The material-focused interior is complemented by the intricate craftsmanship found in the ceiling, where ash wood slats are carefully arranged to celebrate the building’s spiral form. The large glass windows flood the restaurant with natural light while warm ceiling spotlights offer a comfortable glow in contrast with the tougher concrete and steel surfaces elsewhere. Throughout construction, it was important that the Square, Saatchi Gallery, local businesses and popular weekend market remained open. This was achieved by manufacturing the building off-site, as a series of curved, precast concrete panels, resulting in far less overall disruption during the on-site phase of construction.

Credits

Client

Cadogan Estate

Architect

Nex

Structural Engineer

AKTII

Services Engineer

E&M Tecnica

Project Manager

Capital & Provincal

Quantity Surveyor

Equals (Inception to Tender)

Quantity Surveyor

TTTP (construction)

Landscape Architect

BHSLA

Main Contractor

Westgreen

BREEAM

Eight Associates

Catering Consultant

Sefton Horn Winch

Operator

Caravan Restaurants / Vardo

Primary Use Class

Class A3 - Restaurants and Cafes