A key objective in KPF’s master plan for Covent Garden, London’s oldest public square, was to envision what changes in the immediate and broader context could enhance the area’s appeal as an important node in London’s diverse fabric and a viable destination for a broad range of people.
Over the centuries, the Covent Garden square has undergone a number of transformations, from social hub to fruit and vegetable market to publishing center. Today, it’s a great attraction for tourists, but holds little appeal to local residents or for visitors seeking a more sophisticated experience. A great space such as Covent Garden has the potential to appeal to the range of city users, and the square’s ultimate charm and success is linked to an understanding of how a thoughtful redesign of the public realm can reinforce a “re-invented” Covent Garden for Londoners and visitors alike.
Covent Garden’s historical development, program mix, pedestrian movement and circulation, access and traffic studies, and security concerns inform the design of the master plan. The plan analyzes Covent Garden and its multiple roles as a public space, place of heritage distinction, cultural venue and shopping district at both the metropolitan and local scale and proposes interventions to infuse the essence of Covent Garden’s historical significance with a modern innovation of use for space and experience.