St James’s new magnum opus
A landmark project creating a vibrant new destination in the heart of London’s West End, St James’s Market is a stunning new development anchored by high-quality architecture incorporating office accommodation, restaurants and flagship stores, as well as a new public square with an art pavilion.
This major redevelopment by The Crown Estate and Oxford Properties is part of a long-term investment strategy across Regent Street and St James’s.
For decades, Lower Regent Street – now named Regent Street St James’s – and the surrounding roads that form the head of St James’s, have been the poor relative of Regent Street and Piccadilly, lacking the investment and cohesiveness of their neighbours.
The St James Market scheme, designed by Make Architects, is the foundation project for the Crown Estate’s wider investment strategy to refine and enhance the surrounding area, and acts as the catalyst for regeneration.
The scheme lies directly south of Piccadilly and comprises two buildings – 1 St James’s Market (1SJM) and 2 St James’s Market (2SJM) – plus a significant provision of new and enhanced public realm.
Together the buildings deliver 210,000 sq ft of modern office accommodation, flagship stores, and new restaurants, all set within over half an acre of revitalised public space that has replaced a run-down back street service yard and taxi rat run.
The two buildings are markedly different in style, yet complementary as a pair. Each offers Grade A office space and premium ground-floor retail, and together their architectural styles respond to the history and refinement of St James’s, while simultaneously creating a new public space between them
The late 19th century, Grade-11 listed facade of 1SJM addresses Regent Street St James’s in the Beaux Art style found along much of Regent Street.
With its classical Portland stone frontage, slate mansard roof and punched windows, it has an air of solidity, permanence and grandeur.
At ground floor, impressive 7.5m-high bronze shopfronts echo the exceptional shopping environment of Regent Street, and have already attracted premium fashion and lifestyle brands including Assos, Jigsaw and Smeg.
The building required a large amount of restoration work, particularly on the roof, where the mansard was raised by 1.2m to allow for a 2.7m minimum floor to ceiling heights, yet faithfully replicated the architectural standards. Careful work on certain elements was undertaken by specialists to reinstate the diminishing slate design on the mansard, the dormer lead work, timber window mouldings and ornate lead cartouches.
The elegant Portland stone facades have been extensively cleaned and restored and now, together with the new stone facade on St James’s Market, provide varying smooth textured finishes distinguishing old from new. An eight story glass fin with encapsulated woven copper mesh highlights the entrance and stands impressively within the new square to demarcate where the retained facade stops and new facade begins.
The smaller of the two buildings – 2SJM addresses Haymarket and has a more contemporary, organic form that responds to the more eclectic architectural style of the area. It is clad in curving open ribbons of Portland stone inlaid with metal bands – a strong contrast to the rectilinear expression of 1SJM, though the materials clearly connect the two.
The curved wrapping bands take a different form within the building using timber to add warmth and intimacy to the smaller scaled reception.
New and enhanced public realm is central to the scheme. A new 10,200 sq ft pedestrianised public space sits at the heart of the development, and includes the northern portion of St Alban’s Street and all of Norris Street.