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trending rooftops covent garden

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roof terrace blog / trends

design & words Amir Schlezingeramir schlezinger

Terrace Trendiness

Pivotally positioned atop a period building by Covent Garden Piazza, this sunny, large rooftop terrace commands a spectacular 360-degree panorama stretching over Central London. Sited discretely above a 4th floor modern penthouse conversion, the rooftop garden spans 1,350 square feet of urban sunshine, thriving in perfect proportionality to its 2,600-square-foot residence below. Following a major overhaul of the roof's waterproofing, we were commissioned by private clients to design and build this lush alfresco paradise, fully equipped for large-scale outdoor entertainment. We returned to the site with celebrated photographer Marianne Majerus to capture its maturing roof garden for the Frances Lincoln book publication ’Great Gardens of London’, trendily flourishing amid absorbing city landmarks.

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1. levels 2. layout 3. design 4. kitchen 5. lighting 6. seating 7. troughs 8. planting 9. logistics 10. landmarks

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1 levels

layered sequence

The roof's half metre level change enabled a dynamic transition, formed via a 3-step entrance at either end, and further demarcated by hedges and LED strip lighting. This unusual topography elevates the monotony of ubiquitously levelled, standard roof terraces into a useful sequence both visually and functionally. The resulting layout facilitates three distinct zones, maximised for discrete activities.

2 layout

effective partitions

At twenty metres long and just over six metres wide, the rooftop's elongated outline required subdividing into effective partitions. The layout navigates eight various fringes, as well as three level changes, mitigating spatial passivity through variance in elevational heights, floor patterns and surface materials. This renewed blueprint duly replaced a previous outdated landscaping scheme, matching our clients' contemporary interior in trendiness and spaciousness.

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3 design

triadic teamwork

Reciprocating fluently with like-minded clients on such a colossal undertaking propels an inspired rooftop terrace design, and steers construction assuredly. From their clear brief, to an easygoing design process, and throughout the long haul of solving schematic detailing, the owners' breeziness, synced with Henrietta Street's trendsetting, feel-good surroundings, motivated all crews on site. The fine result is a collaborative effort, where a unique project successfully signifies the intimate, triadic teamwork of patron, designer and contractor.

4 kitchen

culinary conveniences

An L-shaped outdoor kitchen spans 3.5 metres along the central entertainment deck, clad in a deep crimson hue and a sleek Corian worktop. Both the linearity and centrality of this cooking hub lead spatially towards London Eye, framing the view, while providing ample culinary conveniences. For our Brazilian clients, alfresco connoisseurs par excellence, this sizeable and highly ergonomic feature maintains a truly peppy rooftop socialising zone with its cutting-edge gadgetry.

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5 lighting

city iridescence

Thirty low-voltage, remote-controlled spotlights are assigned to three zones, capturing the fine textures of tree trunks, shrubby outlines and herbal clusters. LED strip lighting accentuates the various steps and seating areas, generating low-key ambience and furthering utilitarian practicalities. This urban lightscape merges the rooftop garden with contiguous architecture and landmarks to form a cohesive, engaging and warm afterglow, amid a breathtaking expanse of city lights.

6 seating

grassy snuggery

With such an abundance of outdoor space, the rooftop seating takes diverse forms, designed into three distinct zones. A breakfast spot, arranged over light-toned porcelain tiles, provides a private lounge facing BT Tower, nestled under Palm trees and Lavenders. The main decking area caters for large groups of guests, structured around the outdoor kitchen across low sofas, as the sequence culminates in a grassy snuggery of sun loungers laid over on-trend artificial grass.

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7 troughs

contoured elegance

Five unique tree planters and twenty bespoke troughs consolidate a robust planting scheme. Powder coated in contrasting slate-grey and taupe, these well-fitted vessels sustain plant cultivation across the rooftop garden in varying heights, shapes and configurations. With safety brackets, drainage outlets, irrigation pipes and lighting cables discreetly concealed, the containerised flora capably takes centre stage, performing a dynamic interplay of contoured elegance.

8 planting

evergreen outlines

Mediterranean flora thrives gracefully in the open aspect of this roof terrace, sustaining privacy with evergreen outlines. The architectural canopies of Olive, Oleander, Palm and Strawberry trees provide focal points, highlighted by Jerusalem sage, Spurge, Alpine mint bush, Mock orange and Mexican lilies. This lively fusion of Australasian, Central American and Southern European species envelops the rooftop with diverse foliar textures, soaking up thermal heat, pollution and bright sunlight effortlessly, while producing vigorous silhouettes above neatly trimmed Japanese holly and sprawling Lavender hedges.

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9 logistics

on the corner

Perfectly located on the corner of Henrietta and Bedford Streets, yet rather inconveniently for conventional works access, the site entailed complex logistics to enable an efficient construction process. Parking bay dispensations for offloading materials and an external furniture lift, alongside pedestrian traffic management, weren't sufficient from Westminster City Council's viewpoint, where working in one of Central London's busiest streetscapes restricts operations to early dawn only.

10 landmarks

iconic monuments

The myriad of familiar landmarks which surround this roof terrace compose an up-close study of London's history past and present. From Royal Opera House to the Shard in the east, and Nelson's Column to BT Tower in the west, the views are predominated by a mesmerisingly epic London Eye. This heightened sense of place, immersed in the eternal urban soundscape of the streets below, evokes a surreal yet awe-inspiring outdoor experience within the distinctiveness of a trendsetting Covent Garden backdrop.

– coda –

Trending in WC2

Granted, roof terrace trends oscillate ephemerally, yet the robust frameworks which sustain this altitudinous urban lifestyle should facilitate architectural cohesion, vital in unifying cityscape, landscape and residence. While skylines continuously evolve, and home interiors ceaselessly metamorphose, the landscapes we design to articulate an integrative mindset maintain a profound insight into London's aerial fabric and the ecological prosperity of both its floras and inhabitants – granting worthwhile stability. For this approach to retain pertinence, we engage timeless design principles, resilient planting systems and functional infrastructures. While cosmetic variations ebb and flow, this hybrid model of topological and environmental design breathes organic life into trendy pendulations – right here, in Covent Garden!