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PROJECT REPORT: RETAIL DEVELOPMENTS


61


“There was this feeling that you could look through, up into it and out of it, and it


all felt connected together” Tamsin Green, project leader at Heatherwick Studio


PROJECT FACTFILE


Client: Argent Developer: KCCLP / Argent Lead architect: Heatherwick Studio Heritage consultant: Giles Quarme & Associates


Structural/facade engineer: Arup M+E/sustainability: Hoare Lea Lighting designers: Speirs and Major Cost consultant: Gardiner and Theobald


Delivery architect: BAM Design Slate supplier: Welsh Slate


With this being one of the final projects to complete in this smartly regenerated area, a certain amount of inspiration was drawn from new buildings emerging in the development. “Our job was stitching all this together,” says Green. “We took some details from the wider scheme but also needed to make it a distinct place.” Timber infills have been used throughout to bring warmth – and can also be seen on the restored granary building next door, now the new home of Central Saint Martins. “Things like that were inspired by the tones and colours the original railway company used,” explains Finlay. The reuse of existing cobbles can also be seen elsewhere across King’s Cross.


Some of the original roof trusses have also been retained where possible. In the sections that were burnt out, trusses were relocated from the middle of the building where the new structure sits. The new roof has been clad in over 80,000 slates – some individually hand-cut to fit the curve – and they come from the same Welsh quarry as the originals. This traditional craftsmanship paired with the use of 3D modelling embodies how the project brings together two worlds, says Finlay, “pulling out this modern space from within these existing buildings.”


ADF FEBRUARY 2019 The finished product


The retail units are now home to a mix of established higher-end brands as well as new entrants, some of whom have opened their first shop here. Samsung has taken the entire unusually-shaped space which occupies the new third level created under the ‘kissing’ roof. The dramatically glazed and timber finished interior is sure to prov a dramatic location for its promised “digital playground.”


The central cobbled space is to host events, enabled by the copious amount of space between the buildings. The area has also allowed for seating which will not impede passers by. “It’s a place where people will gather and spend time,” Green explains. Despite some initial concerns over this larger-than-usual gap between buildings, in the end, says Finlay, it “works really well.”


Having handed the majority of the


King’s Cross redevelopment over to various tenants and agencies, Argent will be retaining and managing Coal Drops Yard themselves. As this massive overall transformation of an area approaches the end of its 20 year tenure, this particular project is a very important architectural centrepiece – “it’s a bit like its gem,” says Heatherwick’s Finlay. 


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