Quadrant 3

I went to the launch of a book about Quadrant 3, the unglamorous name for the conversion of the old Regent Palace Hotel by Crown Estate.   Many people may not register its scale and significance precisely because it is a combination of new and old, mixed use, combining shops like Whole Foods, Ugg Rapha and the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs at ground floor level (no more Jack Spade) with Zedel down below and offices above.   Jeremy Dixon, who was the architect for the project, gave a characteristically generous speech in which he praised the huge range of planners, consultants and builders who were involved, but I sometimes feel that he and his partner, Ed Jones, do not get enough credit for their very sophisticated approach to urban design, sensitive to history and context, but also capable of transforming the experience of a neighbourhood, as they did at Covent Garden.  No more ‘blood on the needles and steam on the urine’ as Graham Morrison is reported to have said.

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