The majestic residential buildings at Regent’s Crescent were originally commissioned by King George IV. The estate was delivered during the 1820s by the architect John Nash – who also designed Buckingham Palace – and for 200 years has presided over The Regent’s Park, undisturbed by London’s surrounding expansion. But two centuries of occupancy, complete with the bombs of WWII, have taken a toll. Now, client CIT Group and architect PDP London have together restored this Georgian architectural masterpiece, to present a luxury residential development that’s fit for the 21st century.
The western half of the terraced crescent has been restored and retrofitted to create 67 luxury apartments and nine garden villas, together with several high-specification amenities. Throughout, Nash’s 19th-century design vision is meticulously preserved and reinvigorated, including through the reconstruction of the vast, Grade I-listed façade – a first for the UK buildings industry.
The project presents a unique combination of challenges. The curve of the building, over a 90 degree arc, together with the new unique spatial organisation for each storey, require a highly individual services layout. This is further complicated by the presence of a large subterranean ‘ice house’ – a heritage-protected, 10m-deep void that was used during Victorian times to store ice brought to the UK from the Arctic – below part of the structure. This space complicated the distribution of services to the mews houses above. The city’s live Jubilee Line and Metropolitan Line underground railway tunnels meanwhile pass closely, and contribute significant ground-borne vibration.
These many challenges were resolved with the exacting specifications of both the architecture and the luxury facilities through a project-team-wide BIM workflow. Within this, Hilson Moran designed typical apartment types and service cupboards in the 3D environment, to streamline the services coordination.
To validate the proposed automated parking garage and car lift, our fire engineers applied computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling to prove the fire-fighting conditions within these spaces. The underground railway vibration was meanwhile dealt with by our acoustic engineers, who specified varied elastomeric bearings depending on the magnitude of vibration across the site, and the sensitivity of the rooms in different parts of the development.
The ice house has concurrently been refurbished with services to enable its maintenance and inspection – to serve Historic England’s requirements – as well as enabling ad-hoc visits.
Two in-situ residential buildings, which are positioned behind the main terrace, have remained occupied throughout the construction. All services to these areas have been successfully reintegrated within the redevelopment, while temporary plant was provided to cover the transition.
The new residences went on sale during 2020, with practical completion in 2021.