Nottingdale Café

Transformation of a forgotten corner of west London into Notting Dale Village by architect AHMM included construction of a new restaurant building. This low-rise pavilion structure, a short walk from Shepherds Bush station, was designed as a companion piece to the iconic ‘Yellow Building’ headquarters for Monsoon Accessorize.

The café building was constructed from high-quality concrete, with exposed surfaces revealing the material’s texture. It is a double-height structure formed as a sculpted concrete shell with inclined rear wall, undulating roof and fully glazed façade. A mezzanine level provides additional dining space, while the interior is largely column-free to maximise the sense of space.

By conceiving the structure as a 3D concrete shell, we were able to minimise the thickness of the structure. Furthermore, analysis using SOFiSTiK finite element software provided a detailed picture of the distribution of forces within the structure. This allowed design of a more precisely tailored and efficient structure than using conventional analytical techniques. As a result, the roof is just 250 mm thick.

During fit-out, some modifications were required to accommodate kitchen plant and services. This process was simplified by our structural design, which anticipated change by including sacrificial ‘soft spots’ within the structure, as well as additional steel couplers cast into the concrete for any structural additions.

At one end of the building, the roof cantilevers 4 m to create a canopy, pierced by large cast-in circular skylights. The cantilever is achieved by incorporating additional beams, cast onto the top of the slab. These cannot be seen from below, maintaining the continuous surface envisaged by the architect.

A covered walkway structure connects the café to the neighbouring ‘Yellow Building’.

This structure incorporates a ‘hinged’ element that not only provides a joint allowing for differential movement of the two structures, but also offers a thermal break between them.

Low-rise concrete cafe and restaurant building in the new Nottingdale Village area of West London

London, UK
Monsoon Accessorize
AHMM (basebuild),
Found Associates