Foster + Partners gets green light for reworked Mayfair scheme

The practice previously won approval in 2019 for a seven-story luxury hotel on the site between Grafton Street, Broughton Lane and New Bond Street. This proposal would have been associated with an existing 12-storey building that had shops on the ground floor and six refurbished homes.

However, the scheme has now been revised after hotel operator Cheval Blanc withdrew from the plans in the wake of the pandemic. The new designs are “largely the same,” according to a planning report, but part of the site will be divided into a separate building with flexible shop units, retail and office spaces.

There are four buildings currently on the site: 8 Grafton Street and 9-10 Grafton Street are both 1960s office buildings that have been vacant since 2013; 11-14 Grafton Street and 164 New Bond Street, an internally connected building from the 1970s with seven shop and office units above; and 163 New Bond Street, a 1770s building.

Fosters’ sustainability strategy did not address whether reuse of existing buildings rather than demolishing them was considered. However, he said, the new scheme will “target net zero carbon” while “achieving a minimum carbon reduction of 35 percent at the site.”

The practice said the new scheme would have a “high-performance thermal envelope” as well as “encourage and support the sustainable use of water in its operation”. It also said that 90 percent of non-hazardous construction waste will be recovered and saved from landfill.

Westminster said the 1770’s Bond Street building, although old, “has been “significantly altered over time and is considered contrary to the prevailing character of the area”. Plans will also see a Grade II listed storefront at 14 Grafton Street dismantled and moved under the new scheme.

An out-of-crime design officer in the Metropolitan Police objected to the scheme, saying the inferior publicity included in the scheme was an “unacceptable design feature” and would encourage anti-social activities.

The officer also objected to the “design and location” of the cycle storage, which would be accessed via a “dead space,” the officer said.[increase] Fear of crime and the chance of it happening which in turn increases pressure on the local police’.

However, planners said the redevelopment of the site would contribute significantly to the economic regeneration of this part of the West End in the wake of the Covid pandemic, cementing its reputation for high-end retail and providing new accommodations for visitors.

They added: “The offence’s exterior design officer’s concerns have been acknowledged, but taking into account existing authorization, it is believed that the requirements regarding operational management and lighting will go some way towards addressing these concerns.”

The plans were approved by the Planning (Major Applications) subcommittee of Westminster Council on Tuesday evening (9 August). The scheme’s client is O&H Grafton Developments.

View current location (including Wartski’s Grade II listed storefront):

The Architect’s Perspective (from the Design and Access Statement)

This application proposes a new world-class hotel, residence, and flexible office/retail space in the heart of Mayfair to complement and enhance the region’s distinct cultural, retail and culinary experiences.

An integrated architectural response has been developed for a flexible office/retail building along Grafton Street and for the hotel with associated bars, spa and residential accommodations on a co-location on Grafton Street and Broughton Lane.

Our philosophy and approach to the project was to respond sensitively and positively to the surrounding historical context with its rich blend of architectural styles, details, finishes and materials. The project’s architectural expression is a clear expression of its time but draws reference and inspiration from its historical context.

The project also proposes a public realm on Barlow Place and will include new public art installations that celebrate and contribute to Mayfair’s reputation as a global center for fine arts. Public domain improvements at Bruton Lane and Grafton Street are also the applicant’s ambition.

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