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Reed Watts Architects

Reed Watts Architects


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Reed Watts Architects - V&A Cafe

Reed Watts Architects

The V&A in South Kensington hosts over 4m visitors every year and its main café enjoys an outstanding reputation as one of the most beautiful in London. The brief for Reed Watts was to deliver a café in the Madejski Garden that would be met with a similar reception, replacing an existing structure that was no longer fit for purpose.

Inspired by the traditional garden pergola and taking the rhythm of the existing building as a starting point, the structure was designed so that it would sit lightly within the garden, without interrupting views of the courtyard itself.

Designed in 3 months and built in just over 2 weeks, the project represents a successful collaboration between client, designers and suppliers.

Photographs by

Simon Kennedy








Word from the architect

Delivering the café structure, from conception to completion in less than four months, was an immense challenge. Whilst creativity, careful planning and co-ordination made the project possible, the realisation and ultimately the success of the project, required good teamwork to deliver a project of lasting quality.

Word from the client

Reed Watts were presented with a challenging brief – to provide a streamlined catering service to a fast-growing number of visitors, while working within the constraints of a Grade I listed site. Their response was both sensitive and pragmatic, delivering a beautiful structure that complements the architecture and retains views of the historic facades as well as accommodating all the functions of a busy café.