2 St James’s Market, London SW1

ROB WILSON reported for the Architects’ Journal on 3.5.17:

“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.”

From the website of Make Architects:

“This landmark mixed use scheme has transformed a once-forgotten area, just south of Piccadilly Circus, into a distinctive destination. St James’s Market includes two buildings – one Grade II-listed, one contemporary – with over 200,000ft² of high-quality workspace, five flagship stores and seven new restaurants, all set within over half an acre of revitalised public space.

Our design respects and celebrates the site’s unique history, and we collaborated closely with Historic England, the St James’s Conservation Trust, the Westminster Society and Westminster City Council to ensure we preserved its character and quality. The two Grade II-listed facades on Regent Street underwent extensive repairs, and the interior and rear were sensitively reconstructed. At ground level, 7.5 metre-high bronze shopfronts house premium brands such as Smeg and Aspinal of London.

Matthew Giles, Head of development, The Crown Estate, said: “St James’s Market is the most exciting scheme that we have ever undertaken in the West End.”

The more organic form of 2 St James’s Market (see image) acts as a strong contrast to the rectilinear expression of 1 St James’s Market, yet the facade materials and detailing clearly connect the two.

London Plane timber from the Crown-owned Windsor Forest forms the reception walls, desk and seating area of 2 St James’s Market reception.

The bespoke lifts open onto reception and are integrated into the space.

RIBA London Award winner 2018
“It was felt that not only had the two buildings been designed and executed thoughtfully and well, but also that the juxtaposition of the two, together with the new square created, formed a welcome addition, a destination point.”

The high-end retail along the newly renamed Regent Street St James’s features 7.5m bronze shopfronts.

2 St James’s Market takes inspiration from the more eclectic architectural style of Haymarket and a number of Art Deco buildings nearby. The building’s upper levels benefit from roof terraces with uninterrupted views across the city.”

From Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1. Originally published by London County Council, London (1960):

“Like St. James’s Church, St. James’s Market was established under the aegis of the Earl of St. Albans to serve the growing number of people who had come to live in the new buildings in the vicinity…

Parts of the market house were occasionally let off for purposes unconnected with trade. In 1674 Richard Baxter, the presbyterian preacher, held a number of meetings in ‘divers Rooms over the Market-house laid together’. He had been most anxious to preach in this part of London, for he considered that it was ‘the habitation of the most ignorant, Atheistical and Popish about London’. There were, so he believed, ‘forty thousand more than can come into the Church [i.e., old St. Martin’s Church], especially among all the new buildings in St. Jameses, where Neighbours many [sic] live like Americans, and have heard no Sermon of many years’.”

At one of Baxter’s meetings an incident occurred which could have had tragic consequences had it not been for the timely intervention of his wife. ‘The Roof of that Markethouse’, so he wrote, ‘is a vast weight, and was ill contrived to lye much on one Beam in the middle of the Floor : the place being greatly crowded, the Beam gave so great a crack as put all the people in a fear. But a second crack set them all on running and crying out at the windows for Ladders. . . . After the first crack she [his wife] got down the stairs through the crowd, where others could not get that were stronger. The first man she met, she askt him what Profession he was of ? He said, a Carpenter. Saith she, Can you suddenly put a prop under the middle of this Beam? The man dwelt close by, had a meet prop ready, suddenly put it under, while all we above knew nothing of it; but the mans knocking encreased the peoples fears and cry. We were glad all to be gone; and the next morning took a skilful Workman to take up the boards, and search the Beam; which we saw had two such rents, so long and so wide, and the sound part left was so slender, that we took it for a wonder that the house fell not suddenly.’ “

From: THE MARKET PLACE AND THE MARKET’S PLACE IN LONDON, c. 1660 -1840 (1999), by Colin Stephen Smith:

“…The loss of St. James’s market in 1816 caused by the construction of Regent Street alarmed the vestry, and its significance was reflected by the £22,000 compensation paid to the Duke of Leeds as proprietor; and by John Nash, who considered an open market to be ‘indispensable’, and saw to it that a smaller replacement was built nearby. Whilst the new market, like the rebuilt Shadwell market, never apparently prospered, contemporary recognition of retail markets’ role was not in doubt.’ The anonymous observer who in 1826 forwarded proposals for new retail markets, did so precisely because he thought existing ones were well-utilized and even overcrowded, and we have already noted the various attempts to establish new markets in various parts of London in the early nineteenth century.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: