The now “Brand New” Covent Garden Market (once renamed as “New Covent Garden Market” in 1974) is now wrapping up its redesign. Starting in 1835, the market was the cultural heart of London up until the mid-20th century and has been a lively center of trade throughout its whole life. Now the market specializes in the trade of flowers and food, notably fruit and vegetables.
London-based Neil Tomlinson Architects, the practice behind the project working in tandem with BDP and Vinci construction aim for completion to be around 2022 which is year that has been currently set for the flower trader unit to move in, though other units may be able to set up as early as 2016. The market is just a stones throw away from where the new U.S. Embassy is set to be constructed, also in the Nine Elms area.
Maintaining an urban setting for the market was a crucial aspect to the practice who already have experience in extensive retail masterplanning. In 2008, Neil Tomlinson Architects prepared a masterplan for the Aviation Business Park at Wolverhampton Airport as well as other UK aviation facilities in Blackpool and Milton Keynes. Work outside the UK includes the Biella and Parma Airports in Italy.
Housing around 200 businesses, the ‘Brand New’ market will be a source of employment for over 2,500 people, supplying over three quarters of London’s florists.
This isn’t the main concern for Neil Tomlinson. For the firm, improving the technical aspect of the project is key to its success with trade on such a large scale having the potential to be a logistical nightmare.
Due to early morning trading hours (fruit and vegetables trade from midnight to 6:00 a.m. and the flower market’s core trading hours are 4:00 to 10:00 a.m. Monday to Saturday) the market will work with the development of the Northern Line underground network. Both Nine Elms and Battersea (a terminus) are planned new stations and should run 24 hours-a-day, despite this plan being met with hostility my current underground staff.
“Our team has focussed on the design for the main market area south of the viaduct,” Neil Tomlinson said said in a statement. “This includes a fresh produce wholesale and distributor market. We also proposed The Garden Heart component of the project which gives New Covent Garden Market a public face and identity with its cafes and potential for start-up spaces and facilities for training.”
“Our rigorous approach to the design was a driver in the concept, going deeply into the very component parts of the market design and its relationship to the surrounding residential areas,” Tomlinson said in a statement. “This approach exemplifies how we look at projects in general be they large or small like some of the domestic schemes we have enjoyed working on over the years.”