“As well as being an exceptional home, One Hyde Park is a piece of history to be treasured and passed down to future generations.”
One Hyde Park has given Knightsbridge a distinctive new residential development which relates strongly to the existing streetscape and opens up views between Hyde Park and Knightsbridge. Once inside the building these views are maintained from a series of fully-glazed circulation cores incorporating stairs, lifts and lobbies. One Hyde Park comprises 86 apartments and duplexes (including four penthouses) plus three retail units at ground floor level fronting onto Knightsbridge. Additional facilities for residents include: a private cinema; a 21m swimming pool; squash courts; gym; and a business suite with meeting rooms.
The design seeks to complement the existing streetscape of Knightsbridge and create a scheme that offers daylight and generous views whilst achieving the necessary degree of privacy for its occupants. As befits luxury apartments, elegant detailing and quality of construction were of great importance. Materials were chosen to reflect the colouring and texture of the surrounding buildings: red-brown copper alloy façades complement the surrounding red brick buildings; and pale structural concrete mimics stone details on the neighbouring Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
A new gateway to the Park has been created by relocating Edinburgh Gate to the western edge of the site. The roadway is covered by a canopy and the top surface is planted to provide a visual amenity for all those overlooking it and protect residents from traffic noise. Epstein’s ‘Pan’ which was at the northern end of the existing Edinburgh Gate has been repositioned to maintain its relationship to the new roadway.
Along the eastern edge of the site, linking the Park to Knightsbridge, a new pedestrian route through the site, Serpentine Walk, has been created. The original Knightsbridge underground station entrance has been relocated adjacent to Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The entrance was designed using a similar palette of materials to those used in One Hyde Park creating a structure with a glazed roof and walls that appears to be both open and solid.
Renowned lighting artist, James Turrell has created a unified lighting concept that interacts with the development’s architecture. It includes perimeter lighting for the five glass stair and lift structures and a colourful light display.
The brief for One Hyde Park was for a landmark development which complements and enhances the rich textures of the existing local architecture, while creating a structure which integrates well with the neighbouring buildings.
With the exception of the now-demolished 1958 Bowater House, one of the key consistent local features is the expression of verticality, ranging from the bays of the adjacent, late nineteenth century Mandarin Oriental Hotel to the height of the Sir Basil Spence’s 33-storey Hyde Park Barracks tower, built in 1970. The existing rooflines – a dynamic and prominent feature of the local context – are characterised by the cupolas, turrets, gables and chimney stacks of the Hotel. Detailed analysis of the site context suggested that the buildings separating the Park from Knightsbridge were disjointed and disparate in height, style and composition, resulting in a varied architecture along the northern side of Knightsbridge.
In recognition of the context – and in contrast to the design of Bowater House – a series of interlinked pavilions, separated by light and transparent glass service cores, was conceived to allow permeability and offer views of Hyde Park from Knightsbridge, creating a stronger visual connection than had previously existed. Two passenger cores are used by residents for primary access to the apartments and penthouses, and three service cores are used for secondary access by staff and to provide service access to the apartments.
Gaps between the four pavilions allow shafts of sunlight to enter One Hyde Park from the south, as well as providing visual corridors between Knightsbridge and the Park.
The relationship of the pavilions with one other and with neighbouring buildings follows a radial pattern emanating from a central point well within the Park. This has resulted in a complementary alignment with the immediately adjacent buildings of Wellington Court and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, as well as reinstating – as closely as possible – the sweep of the original road and pavement alignment to Knightsbridge.
The roof profile is designed to echo the contextual roofscape, creating a layered façade with depth, grain and shadow that does not compete with the various cupolas, turrets, gables and chimneys which characterises the neighbouring buildings.
The shaping of the pavilions – which widen towards the centre of the site and taper towards the perimeter – allows for oblique lateral views from each pavilion towards Knightsbridge to the south and the Park to the north.
The overall footprint of the site determined the width and length of each of the pavilions as well as the width of the passenger and support service cores. The result of this approach is a continuity of the building edge to the southern boundary of the site along Knightsbridge.
The shaping of each pavilion maximises its perimeter, allowing all the principal rooms to be located at the northern and southern ends, providing panoramic views across London. Secondary rooms are located further along the perimeter towards the centre of the pavilions, offering controlled views northwards and southwards, with tertiary spaces (those not requiring natural daylight) accommodated within the central part of the floor plates. The geometry of the privacy screens and the shape of the pavilions have combined to generate many of the interior spaces.
Views are controlled by the use of carefully positioned privacy screens placed externally to the façade. These screens prevent overlooking from one apartment to another. This also prevents overlooking between pavilions. A typical single-level façade system consists of triple glazing comprising a single outer pane, a ventilated cavity containing an interstitial vertical roller blind, and an inner double-glazed unit, all rigorously following the geometry of the pavilions.
The narrow promontories at the north and south end of each pavilion are intended to form the leading edges of the development. This gives it a slender appearance on both the Hyde Park and Knightsbridge sides. The scale of the scheme is evident when seen in terms of its relationship to the bays and projections of the predominantly Victorian and Edwardian buildings which surround it.
The pavilions are separated by highly transparent circulation cores comprising lobbies, stairwells and lift shafts and providing clarity between ‘served’ and ‘servant’ spaces. The pavilions vary in height, stepping up in increments of two storeys. The two-storey increments accord with the grain of the local context – the highest point corresponds with the junction of Knightsbridge, Sloane Street and Brompton Road – providing scale and legibility to the development and offering residents impressive views across London.
Architectural expression and selection of materials reflect the division of each pavilion into three distinct zones: top, middle and base. This, in turn, references the prevalent vertical zoning found in other local buildings. Flat, neutral greys have been used at the top of the building, whilst red/brown patinated copper privacy screens are used in the middle, reflecting the predominant colouration of Knightsbridge. Lower levels are neutral, similar to the stone plinths of the surrounding buildings, recessed behind the structural columns of the exposed, white concrete frame.
A top-down construction methodology was used that offered significant programme benefits by overlapping the construction processes above and below ground. Excavations and construction works below ground were able to take place under cover and the superstructure above ground to proceed in parallel.
Below ground, four levels of basement, covering the entire site footprint, were excavated in two-tier sections, each six metres (20 feet) high. The intermediate levels were then inserted into these double-height spaces as necessary. The lower two levels are primarily designated for residential stores and car and cycle parking, and are served by two car lifts from the entrance setting-down area. The upper two levels – comprising some double-height spaces – are occupied by residential and neighbouring Mandarin Oriental Hotel leisure facilities, central plant and the loading dock area, served by two truck lifts.
Following the casting of the ground-floor slab, the superstructure works commenced in parallel with the excavation of the basements. Above ground, two levels of floor slabs were installed in approximately 16-day cycles – the two-storey perimeter pre-cast concrete columns being erected first, then the single storey in situ / pre-cast internal columns, prior to casting an intermediate level floor slab, then the next level of single-storey columns erected, followed by the next floor slab. Teams working in parallel on each of the four pavilions repeated this cycle. The delivery of the southern sections of the two central pavillions was staggered, allowing the road realignment to be completed, at which point these areas were progressed and rejoined the overall programme. The superstructure of all four pavilions took 14 months to construct.
To give lateral stability to the pavilions, a total of 48, two-storey high, perimeter steel cross braces are used, in the north–south orientation, across the whole development. These help to free up internal space permitting flexibility to the apartment configurations. The external visible structural elements to the pavilions are made from pre-cast concrete, containing crushed limestone aggregate together with a high content of mica. This composition creates a stone-like appearance with a light-reflecting quality that heightens the whiteness of these elements. The core structures, located in between the pavilions and at the ends, consist of steel components designed and engineered to bolt together.
A mock-up of parts of an apartment was built in a warehouse in North London to give those working on the project a tangible view of the quality aspirations for the project as well as addressing buildability issues. This established the quality benchmark ensuring that quality control was maintained across all apartments within the development.
One Hyde Park has adopted a collaborative approach, combining the skills and expertise of some of the best professionals in the architecture, art, design and construction industries. At the height of the project, more than 2,000 people were working on the construction site.
ClientProject Grande (Guernsey) Ltd
£ 250 000 000
65 000 m²
Ove Arup & Partners
Cundall / GVA Second London Wall
GVA Second London Wall Project Management
Gardiner & Theobald
Exova Warrington Fire
Candy & Candy
Public Lighting Design