There is a quiet architectural revolution going on in the historic area of Mayfair. Now an exclusive area of London, it was mainly open fields until development started around 1686 to accommodate the May Fair, from which the area takes its name. Substantially development took place during the 17th and 18th centuries and today the area remains almost like a town within a city with offices in converted houses, residential apartments, mews houses, embassy buildings, hotels, exclusive shops and art galleries. Like all urban areas, Mayfair continually goes through phases of redevelopment to ensure its relevance for the future, which takes place in a variety of ways – small projects in the mews and larger projects such as at Clarges Street/Piccadilly, often removing unsatisfactory buildings from the 20th century. With recent developments, a new style of 21st century architecture has been created by the City of Westminster Planning Authority, developers and architects which respects the proportions and materials of the original Georgian buildings of the area and provides new modern buildings which should last well into the future. Solid walls of brick or stone, rather than the glazed cladding used elsewhere, well-proportioned tall windows with deep reveals, balconies, double height ground floor spaces for retail or international galleries like Hauser & Wirth and top attic stories, all reflect on traditional design, scale and the rhythm of the streetscape in a modern way.
The most recent under construction is British Land’s scheme at Clarges Mayfair at the junction of Clarges Street and Picadilly, a large site overlooking Green Park which is being redeveloped as a landmark mixed-use scheme. Designed by Squire & Partners, it includes 34 luxury apartments arranged over 10 floors, ground floor retail space, high quality offices and a new building which has now been occupied by the Kennel Club. Now occupied.
Squire & Partners are also the architects for the redevelopment of the Shell Centre at Waterloo; this scheme also provides a taster of what might be provided there.