The project was won in an open international competition in 1983 by Jeremy Dixon in a joint venture with BDP.

The challenge of the project has been to meet all requirements of the Royal Opera House and at the same time to find an architectural approach that can respond to the diversity of the site context bounded, on the one hand by the implied formality of the market square and on the other, by a series of typical Covent Garden streets with their ad hoc accumulation of uses and architectural styles.

The project comprises the refurbishment of the existing auditorium and foyers, accommodation for the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet including rehearsal facilities and a second auditorium, reconstruction of pan of the Floral Hall and a ribbon of shops around the piazza. When considering the appearance of the building and their relationship to the surrounding area, the whole project is brought together so that it can be seen as a coherent pan of the city.

The objectives of the project are:

Building Contract 1st stage shops - James Street, completed 1992
Main construction commencing 1996

Article from The Sunday Times, Culture Section, 20th September 1998
It has cost £214m to rebuild, but is it worth it? Hugh Pearman is the first to visit, and he says yes