Press Releases

SOM Submits Plan for New Covent Garden Market District in London

London: BDP and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), working with Vinci St Modwen (VSM) and its partner Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA), have submitted their planning application for The Garden and Surplus Lands, a 57-acre revitalization of New Covent Garden Market in the Vauxhall/Nine Elms district in Central London. 

This multi-phased project is the single largest redevelopment scheme within the proposed regeneration of Nine Elms on the South Bank, one of London’s key opportunity areas for sustainable mixed-use development. Through the delivery of new 21st century facilities, the project will secure the future of New Covent Garden Market, the U.K.’s largest fruit, vegetable, and flower market. The proposal also strategically delivers a large quantity of new homes to help meet the city's future housing targets.

The design consolidates the market south of the Vauxhall railway viaduct, releasing 20 acres of surplus land that will be transformed into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood benefiting from panoramic city and riverside views. The neighborhood will comprise approximately 3,000 new homes, 135,000 square feet of new office space, and 100,000 square feet of retail, leisure, and community venues. 

The design builds on the planning permission secured by CGMA in 2012, along with collaboration between CGMA and their development partner, VSM. The proposal provides more than 500,000 square feet of modern market facilities consolidated on a single site adjacent to a new food quarter. The market facilities will accommodate 200 tenant businesses that collectively employ more than 2,500 people.

The entire scheme is set alongside a new, riverfront park stretching from Vauxhall to the Battersea Power Station and engaging the future American and Netherlands Embassies. The area will also benefit from the extension of the Northern Line and the opening of two new London Tube stations, connecting people living and working in Nine Elms to the urban core and beyond. The future market, as well as each of the Surplus Land sites, will be within a five-minute walk of a transit station. 

Working together, BDP and SOM have delivered a seamless master plan that will increase the permeability and connectivity of the district with the new park, the River Thames, and the city beyond. Following the agreed master plan, BDP has developed the detailed design of the market facilities, while SOM has developed hybrid planning submission materials for the Surplus Lands, including parameter plans and a robust design code for future residential-led development, which will help fund the redevelopment project. In particular, the two firms have closely collaborated to establish a new public face for the wholesale market and a vision for the new food quarter. Their scheme calls for the integration of outdoor market space, shops, and restaurants into future private development adjacent to "The Garden."

Subject to receipt of planning permission, development work on the new market will commence in 2015.

Dan Smyth, BDP Director, commented: “It’s really exciting to be involved in such a significant regeneration project with VSM and CGMA, and to continue to grow BDP’s expertise in wholesale market design. Our proposals for ‘The Garden’ raise the bar for wholesale market renewal in an urban setting, and celebrates both Market scale and Market pride. It provides one million square feet of self-funded, flexible, and future-proofed market for 200 businesses, a new indoor flower market, and the 'Garden Heart,' a focus for food education and business incubation within a lively new food quarter.”

Dan Ringelstein, Director of SOM London’s City Design Practice, commented: “We could not be more pleased professionally to support CGMA and VSM in delivering on ‘the final piece’ of the VNEB vision to create a much-improved Market integrated into an emerging and exciting new district for London. Our vision for the Surplus Lands integrates future residential-led, mixed-use development into the ever-changing local area. The schemes for the Northern and Entrance Sites will become gateways into the VNEB Linear Park, and provide a significant percentage of the district’s future open space network. The project also serves as an exemplar for comfort of living and community amenity integrated within high-density urban regeneration.”

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Inc.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Inc. (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, with a 75‐year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes, and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,700 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award — in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.