Carmody Groarke

Cadogan Café . london

Carmody Groarke . + Malcolm Reading

Our design proposes a pavilion as a ‘solitaire’ - a building which will be viewed and approached from all sides. As such it is a building without a front or a back, but is presented equally well from every direction. Its unique identity has emerged from a careful examination of the pavilion’s context and also its purpose.

A pavilion to be viewed and approached from all sides
Responding to these conditions, the form is generated from two vaulted spaces that cross oneanother diagonally, creating routes and views under a square roof canopy. The square canopy forges a strong relationship with the surrounding urban masterplan, and the vaults within provide welcoming cafe / restaurant spaces inside. Externally the vaults provide generous canopies, attracting visitors from all directions of approach and provide permanently sun-shaded areas for terraced seating onto each aspect of Duke of York Square. These arched canopies form entrances to the pavilion at the same time as framing views to activities in and around the pavilion. The vaulted internal space give the pavilion a strong identity - which provide a very comfortable environment to enjoy a drink or a meal, whilst at the same time frame very large windows - which have a strong visual and physical connections to the public realm.
A diversity of rooms inside and outside the pavilion
The arrangement of the pavilion is very simply organised around the cruciform plan, defined by four supports which the vaults spring from. Inside these supports are four rooms containing: lift, dumb waiter, a spiral staircase (leading to the kitchen and toilets within the basement) and intimate booths for a quiet retreat from the main space. The arrangement allows excellent sight-lines from all aspects from inside to outside, provides a diversity of places to sit (at least 40-50 internally and at least 60 externally), as well as creating a simple legible space for all ages and levels of accessibility. In warm weather the glazing to each of the four entrances can slide away into the supports creating a pavilion which is completely open to all sides of the square.

A pavilion between architecture and art practice
The pavilion takes its sculptural form from a strong architectural response to the site, which we believe is the correct approach for creating a long-lasting and meaningful piece of townscape as well as is functionally correct for its purpose and is therefore sustainable.
Complementary functions
The pavilion is concieved of as a series of rooms which extend the public realm of Duke of York Square. It must also support other activities and events that may take place in the Square, although it is vital that the extra functions do not overburden or destabilise the core business plan of the cafe operator. For this reason our project proposes a number of opportunities for using some of the spaces independantly with entrances from either inside or outside the cafe. In addition, we are proposing a large multifunctional room that takes full advantage of the footprint of the site which is located beneath the cafe. This can be programmed with cultural events, exhibitions, small performances or even a private dining room. This could be related to (but not dependent upon) a programme of activities in the square.
Materials and structure
The vaults will be built in high-quality, polished-terrazzo concrete shells, giving a rich, mineral quality to the space. It is the intention that the space feels light and airy and has a strong connection from inside to outside. A single central skylight will punctuate the joining of the four vaults and bring even more daylight deep into the plan. Warm-coloured artificial up-lighting will further accent the material qualities of the space by washing the arched walls. The booths inside the vault bases will be lined in warm timber to give them a more intimate spatial atmosphere. Externally the mineral quality of the “carved” space will be continued in either travertine or high-quality terrazzo.

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