Long-time resident of King’s Cross, the studio has reinvented two heritage rail buildings from the 1850s as a new shopping district with close to 60 units, fully opening up the site to the public for the first time.
The project is the first major building completion in London for Heatherwick Studio and one of several large-scale developments in the capital that the studio is currently working on. These include a new major building for Google in King’s Cross that is currently under construction and the transformation of Olympia London.
In 2014, the studio was commissioned by King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership to radically rethink the site. The pair of elongated Victorian coal drops was built to receive coal from Northern England for distribution around London by barge and cart. But over the years the ornate cast-iron and brick structures had become partially derelict, serving light industry, warehousing, and nightclubs before partial abandonment in the 1990s.
The challenge was to transform the dilapidated buildings and long, angular site into a lively retail district where the public could gather and circulate.
The design extends the inner gabled roofs of the warehouses to link the two viaducts and define the yard, as well as creating fluid patterns of circulation. The flowing roofs, supported by an entirely new and highly technical freestanding structure interlaced within the heritage fabric, rise up and stretch towards each other until they touch. This forms an entirely new floating upper storey, a large covered outdoor space and a central focus for the entire site.
Lead designer: Heatherwick Studio
Location: Kings Cross, Londres, United Kingdom
Design Director: Thomas Heatherwick
Group Leader: Lisa Finlay
Project Leader: Tamsin Green
Area: 100000.0 ft2
Project Year: 2018
Photographs: Hufton + Crow, Luke Hayes
Project team: Jordan Bailiff, Einar Blixhavn, Erich Breuer, Darragh Casey, Jennifer Chen, Dani Rossello Diez, Ben Dudek, Andrew Edwards, Alex Flood, Daniel Haigh, Phil Hall-Patch, Steven Howson, Sonila Kadillari, Michael Kloihofer, Nilufer Kocabas, Ivan Linares Quero, Elli Liverakou, Freddie Lomas, Jose Marquez, Mira Naran, Ian Ng, Hannah Parker, Monika Patel, Luke Plumbley, Jeff Powers, Thomas Randall-Page, Emmanouil Rentopolous, Angel Tenorio, Takashi Tsurumaki, Pablo Zamorano
Project description courtesy of architects