DSDHA – South Molton Street, London 2012



DSDHA architects: http://www.dsdha.co.uk/



The South Molton Street Building is a new-build development located at the junction of South Molton Street, Oxford Street and Davies Street, adjacent to the future Bond Street Crossrail station. It was awarded planning permission by Westminster City Council in 2009, following a limited competition. The development replaces the previous ai???Hog In The Pound pub which did little to enhance the area with a new high-quality mixed-use retail, office and residential scheme. The six-storey building acts as the brand HQ and flagship store for China s largest retailer Bosideng, introducing the brand (which has over 4000 outlets in China) to an international audience.

The design responds to the site s context within Mayfair Conservation Area and its historic location on the banks of the river Tyburn, and seeks to providing a contemporary sustainable solution that embodies good design and craftsmanship.

The building is designed to improve the status of the address: as the fa ade gracefully turns the curved corner facing Oxford Street, the building reveals greater transparency on the retail and residential floors, evoking a sense of movement and change across the elevation. On Davies Street instead a distinct residential and commercial entrance is created to visually terminate the street when approached from Brook Street and Berkeley Square. At roof level, greenery and residential terraces create a memorable local landmark helping to consolidate this busy junction.

After this scheme was delivered DSDHA were appointed by Westminster City Council to develop public realm proposals for South Molton Street.



Architects: DSDHA

Location: London, Westminster, South Molton Street

Surface: gross internal floor area 1,228m2. Three floors for retail, three floors for office space and one floors for residential property

Year/status: 2012 completed

Structure: In-situ RC cores and perimeter columns with no internal columns and a flat slab. Concrete frame clad with special glazed / semi-glazed profiled terracotta, complemented by black metalwork detailing. The terracotta rainscreen utilises an aluminium substructure fixed back to the building structure, which enables entirely concealed fixing of the tiles, as well as fine adjustment / alignment of the panels. Individual panels can be exchanged or replaced within the facade should this be necessary.

Materials: The fa ade is composed of a series of subtly varying profiled and glazed terracotta tiles, designed specifically for the project, following extensive design and detail development alongside the manufacturer NBK.
The twice fire glaze shifts in tone over the day from a deeper red to brownish terracotta to an ultimately silver reflectivity when sunlight hits the building. A number of terracotta profiles continue in front of windows apertures preventing a sense of repetitiveness or large exposed planes of glass.
Glazed terracotta was chosen to complement the red brick and terracotta buildings of Mayfair, in particular Grays Antiques on Davies Street and the fine turreted and bay- windowed corner building on the junction of Oxford Street and South Molton Street. Black detailing and articulation relates to the contextual use of cast iron in Edwardian precedents, such as Claridges on Davies Street.
Terracotta battens run the length of the facade glazing, referencing the stone mullions evident in the locale and providing essential shading for the East West orientation. They mask the glazing, giving the building its forceful vertical emphasis and creating a unified skin to the entire block. When read as a whole the scale of the building is purposefully ambiguous and the architecture abstract in quality, so that it is difficult to ascribe a particular size to the building itself. The absence of manifest apertures or windows within the building s enclosure is a deliberate device so that you read the building as one form, rather than an assembly of floor plates and mix of uses. It is simultaneously both human and urban scaled.

Project team: DSDHA (Deborah Saunt, David Hills, Martin Pearson, John Zhang)

Client/contractor: Bosideng UK

Partner/consultants: delivery architect: Ward McHugh Associates; structural engineer Ramboll and BWB Consulting; facade consultant: Procare; m&e consultant: Ramboll, Walker Walker; civil engineer: Ramboll; quantity surveyor: Stace; planning consultant: Montagu Evans; main contractor: McLaren Group; terracotta rainscreen manufacturer: NBK

Photography: Dennis Gilbert






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