Created as a mainly residential extension to Belgravia, the Pimlico district of South-West London is known for its garden squares and regency architecture, first being designated a conservation area in 1968. Today its thriving Pimlico Road Design District has gained a striking and unique new retail destination thanks to the redevelopment and reconstruction of what was a builders’ merchant and London’s oldest timber yard.
On any redevelopment project, the commitment to cut waste should include retaining as much of the original structure as is practically, economically, and aesthetically feasible. In the case of Newson’s Yard, the potential limitations of the premise’s listed status and the challenges posed by tight access were outweighed by the obvious attraction of repurposing a semi-industrial building in a prominent area, which had the potential for providing large, open, and flexible retail spaces. Key to this challenging redevelopment was a bespoke hybrid solution utilising structural timber and structural steel.
Utilising a hybrid approach – in the form of structural steel to support the CLT and retained frame of the Victorian building – proved to be the ideal solution, offering broad structural and sustainable capabilities. The fact that the previous timber yard had been generally well maintained under a roof which was watertight meant most of the heavy beams and diagonal bracings could be preserved intact, with just small sections of decay cut away. While the 19th century brickwork required far more stabilisation work, the task of introducing a totally new hybrid structure to create a mezzanine level containing seven contemporary and flexible retail units, without detracting from the property’s heritage, inevitably presented unique challenges requiring broad experience of implementing timber technology and a hybrid solution.
Ultimately, the stunning Newson’s Yard is a highly commercially successful example of how timber is the perfect material of choice for restoration and redevelopment work on existing structures, and the versatility it offers is unrivalled.
As one of the UK’s most respected developers, Grosvenor is committed to becoming zero carbon as well as targeting zero waste in the delivery of its schemes; demonstrated in the successful reconfiguration of Newson’s Yard. As well as preserving the site’s heritage, the CLT slabs forming the mezzanine level are quantifiably the most environmentally friendly of the main building components.
For the scheme, BKS delivered 80+ PEFC certified CLT panels totalling 700m2, from well managed forests, with 100% full chain of custody. The 110.9m3 of timber captures 86.6 tonnes of embodied CO2e while, thanks to the responsible sourcing of the supply chain, it will have been regrown in just 25 seconds.
The adhesives used in the manufacture of the CLT are formaldehyde free, which offers maximum BREEAM points at BREEAM EA02 and helps to ensure a healthy indoor atmosphere for both the public and employees. Exposed timber is widely used in public buildings for its biophilic properties, while the nature of the material enables it to moderate extremes of humidity, absorbing moisture when levels are high, and releasing it again slowly.
CLT is a durable construction material, especially when properly maintained and protected. Long lasting timber structures reduce the need for frequent replacements, promoting resource efficiency and extending the working life. This contributes to the circular economy: reducing waste and maximising resources, which is a key focus for Newson’s Yard.
Newson’s Yard’s location is ideal to attract passing trade, but Stiff + Trevillion’s task in repurposing the former timber yard was just as much about visual appeal as conservation and the creation of useably proportioned spaces. The choice of a new hybrid steel and engineered timber structure can already be viewed as a success based on tenants and patron’s reaction.
Completed in May 2022, the adaptable new units were rapidly taken up by both craft and creative businesses like Bespoke Kitchen Company, Plain English, and designer Nina Campbell – fitting out the spaces to suit their requirements and providing the public with world class destination to shop, eat, and socialise.
For some time, we’ve been working to find a way to enable the Pimlico Road Design District to grow but keep that intimate neighbourhood feel the area is famous for. From established names to emerging talent, the demand for spaces in Newson’s Yard has proven that this meticulously designed scheme gets the balance just right.