Completed in 2019, the landmark Vardo restaurant involved the dismantling of existing café and piling/excavation to construct a single story basement plus ground floor and open landscape roof terrace. The project ties a contemporary design with the site heritage, represented by the Grade II -listed wall of the Duke of York Headquarters.

One of the design’s main features is the spiralling precast concrete incorporating descending curved glazed screens. Openings in the walls form a colonnade for sheltered outdoor seating and the retractable glazed panels make it possible to open up the indoor space during the summer. Although similar retraction systems have been installed outside the UK, Vardo is the first example of a retractable curved glass system in the world.

A spiralling staircase winds around the exterior to lead visitors up to the public space located in the roof garden. Softened with timber decking and verdant planting, the roof garden is open freely to the public and is accessed independently from the space below.

This striking yet sympathetic design by Nex— has been awarded the New London Architecture Award in Hotels & Hospitality category.

Visuals courtesy Nex Architecture.
Photos: James Brittain / Joseph Asghar