Caruso St John Architects
Location: London, UK
Client: English Heritage
Project Status: Built
The new cafe is part of a wider masterplan for the regeneration of the whole of Chiswick Gardens, a site of international importance both as the location of great innovations in English landscape design, and as the setting for one of the most beautiful houses in London. In the masterplan, the historic landscape and garden buildings have been restored, and the operation of the garden brought into sustainable balance, so that their condition can be permanently maintained. The cafe is located close to Chiswick House on the east side, where stable buildings once stood. The project includes the construction of a new park landscape that forms a setting for the new building as well as connecting it to the house and surrounding historic gardens.
The cafe has a stone colonnade across its main elevations, terminating in a portico-like front. Its elevation recalls the arcaded facades of the stable wings of country villas in the Veneto, such as Palladio’s Villa Angarano, and through these references makes a strong spatial link back to the main house. The colonnade provides covered exterior seating around the main room of the cafe, from where visitors have a panoramic view south of the surrounding lawns and mature trees.