Newson's Yard

Interior of courtyard at Newsons Yard, London, U.K

Newson's Yard

Newson's Yard, formerly the oldest continuously operating timber yard in the U.K., was originally built in the 1840s by John Newson, a renowned London builder. Synonymous with Belgravia's rich heritage, the historic site withstood a fire in 1877 and the impact of Blitz between 1940 and 1941. Throughout the years, Newson's Yard evolved into an indispensable part of the celebrated Pimlico Road Design District, an exclusive retail spot connecting London's best artisans and craftspeople with clients looking for extraordinary art, furniture, home accessories and antiques.

In a considered effort to continue this legacy into the 21st century, Grosvenor refurbished Newson's Yard in order to create 11,000 square feet of hand–picked retail experiences benefitting from regenerated traditional shop frontage, as well as an extension of the residential area from five to nine units. Between early 2018 and June 2022, HDR designed and delivered a holistic building engineering services design for the development, including mechanical, electrical and public health, sustainability and security.

The overarching sentiment for the concept is centered on designing a vibrant artisan community within Newson's Yard, creating a natural space akin to the charming Belgravia vernacular that will help draw in passersby and customers. To help accomplish this goal, HDR focused on designing elegant and discrete engineering services by introducing unexposed trenches connecting both sides of the scheme for the incoming utilities throughout the space from a sophisticated first floor plant room.

Utilizing complex 3D modeling, HDR delivered a fully controlled, enclosed and acoustically isolated plant room in a confined internal space on the first floor, imperceptible to the public. By overcoming a variety of technical and spatial challenges, such as attenuation of all the air circulating within the plant room or working to a limited heat projection plan, we enabled the yard space to remain completely clear of services. Additionally, as the plant area would conventionally be placed on the roof, our first–floor strategy extended into the heritage retention aspect of Belgravia's protected rooftop view.

The yard itself is accessible through two arcades from Pimlico Road and sits under a striking glass roof. This has been designed to be a creative meeting place doubling as a venue for potential community events and therefore required a variety of special considerations from an engineering perspective. HDR introduced two modes of ventilation, namely the use of natural ventilation in which air enters from the arcade entrances and subsequently dissipates through the roof or is alternatively extracted by an air handling unit. The energy–efficient natural ventilation is prioritized, with the decision which mode to utilize controlled via the BMS and depending on a variety of factors, such as occupancy levels or the weather.

Through early engagement, we cooperated closely with the client from RIBA Stage 2 to help shape expectations and capabilities, as well as to futureproof the building. Cognizant of the engineering potential of the space coupled with property market peculiarities, we prepared six design scenarios for Newson's Yard, including options for a varying number of restaurants in different locations across the space. HDR enhanced these highly technical calculations by employing advanced building design best practices to visualize all the scenarios, ultimately delivering longevity and flexibility for the client.

"The Pimlico Road Design District is renowned as one of the world’s leading destinations for interior design, art, antiques and fine furniture. Our ambition for Newson’s Yard was to support the area’s expansion, bringing in a new wave of designers and craftspeople, whilst retaining the intimate neighborhood feel the area is famous for. Our sensitive retake of London’s oldest timber yard has provided a new focal point and a space that matches the creativity and skill of the community it is now part of." — Emma Rogers, Grosvenor Project Director

In an innovative smart approach, all services designed by HDR are fully accessible and monitorable via an online integrated building management system. This solution is shared with Holbein Gardens and Ecclestone Yards, two projects HDR also delivered for Grosvenor.

Newson's Yard features highly sustainable, packaged variable flow air handling units utilizing heat recovery, as well as high efficiency lighting. The retail part of the development achieved the sought–after BREAAM Excellent rating.

To streamline the process of addressing all the bespoke requirements of future tenants, HDR provided additional aftercare for Newson's Yard by means of client monitoring services, between practical completion in June 2022 and public opening in autumn 2023. At the end of RIBA Stage 4, the client monitoring team continuously advised leaseholders and their contractors on custom system installation and best connection options, thus, the systems installed matched the agreed upon specifications.

Newson's Yard represents a technologically advanced yet aesthetically refined refurbishment effort, bringing one of Belgravia's most loved landmarks into modernity, whilst being mindful of the sensitivity and historical importance of the area. 

"I think it is about taking the industrial space, that has previously been unloved and preserving its heritage for future generations. The yard itself has been retained, complete with all the pillars, roof timbers and brickwork; upon entering, you can see the original markings on the walls. Proportionately, we designed all the bespoke building engineering services for Newson's Yard to futureproof the building and provide user-friendly plug–and–play modern solutions. As we advance on the route to achieving net zero and refurbishment projects become increasingly more relevant, it is my belief that developments such as Newson's Yard will be viewed as a blueprint of breathing new life into our historic buildings which need to be brought back into use for the 21st century." — Jairo Jaramillo, HDR Project Manager and CMT Lead 

Interior of courtyard at Newsons Yard, London, U.K

United Kingdom

11,000 sf (1,022m²)
BREEAM Excellent