Back in April, WAN met with rising stars Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu to celebrate their firm’s recent triumph in the inaugural round of the WAN Interior and Design Awards with the stunning Waterhouse Hotel. As Michael Hammond reported then: “They had just come from the opening of Jason Atherton's highly-anticipated new restaurant, Pollen Street Social and were bursting to tell us about another major new project that they have just won in London but hasn’t been announced yet.”
Formally under wraps for another few months, the project in question has been unofficially named as the redevelopment of the historic Bow Street Magistrates Court in London’s Covent Garden, after several competing architects relayed their opinions on the competition.
So here’s the story. The Bow Street Magistrates Court is set in the heart of London’s eclectic Covent Garden, its Victorian walls privy to the trials of Oscar Wilde, General Pinochet, the Kray Twins and Dr Crippen. The Grade II listed property was presided over by playwright Henry Fielding in 1747 whose Bow Street Runners – a squad of police constables – were renowned for their integrity and effectiveness in enforcing the law on the streets of London.
The property was put up for sale in 2004 and a sale was agreed the following year to developer Edward Holdings, whose intention it was to transform the prestigious building into a boutique hotel. This conversion never materialised and in 2008 the Bow Street Magistrates Court was sold to Austrian developers Christian and Rudolf Ploberger. Plans for the redevelopment include the retention of prison cells and the establishment of a police museum on the site.