The Challenge:

The building, set alongside St Pancras Lock on Regent’s Canal, is technically complex as it sits on top of an existing energy centre and is in close proximity to the Cross Channel high-speed rail line.

The unusual and complex brief included an energy centre for the wider King’s Cross development scheme and a mix of affordable and market housing. Coupled with the challenges of building above railway tunnels, adjacent to a railway line and canal; the result of the complex build is a refined, elegant and cohesive development.

The scheme includes the largest energy centre of its kind in the UK, containing an electrical primary substation that fulfils all of the 92-acre development’s electricity needs. Kier applied the latest technologies and energy-efficient building design to facilitate Argent’s aim to cut carbon emissions by at least 50 per cent, compared with 2005 levels.

The Solution:

Taking lessons learned from our other residential developments, we devised a solution for the connection details and construction sequence that negated the need for scaffolding. This was safer, quicker and cheaper, ultimately providing client Argent with a better quality of build.

The working environment adjacent to the Kings Cross Network Rail lines meant that regular dialogue took place and site-specific detailed method statements, including risk assessments, were required to be issued to Network Rail for approval.

A minimum of four weeks was required by Network Rail for approval of these method statements. To safely install the façade along the western façade, our method statement was based on BFT mast climbers being erected and operational, and exclusion zones agreed with Network Rail prior to the works commencing. Vibration monitoring equipment was also installed as agreed with Network Rail.

The Impact:

Designed by Niall McLoughlin Architects, the RIBA London award-winning building features rooftop gardens that provide both communal areas and stunning views over London. A 462-space multi-storey car park, multi-use games area and retail units, cafés, bar and restaurant provides further amenities. At level eight, there is a secluded roof garden, designed by Dan Pearson Studio, along with a gym and function room.

An exquisite, sculpted façade wraps around the building, which is made of lightweight, glass-reinforced precast concrete panels, coloured in deep terracotta. Prefabricated balconies and bay windows span in-between, and the building is scribed with Egyptian motifs and 1960s op-art patterns to create a contemporary ornamentation. The 2,400 façade panels were manufactured offsite by Techcrete, and pre-installed on a steel frame for speed of installation. The architectural etched finish was achieved by exposing the finished panels to a washdown with a dilute acid-based solution, which gave the façade its unique textured finish.

Interior specialists Johnson Naylor designed the beautiful interiors, endeavouring to incorporate materials, textures and three-dimensional spaces that were in keeping with the architectural style and environment of the building.

View more projects

Every project we deliver is an opportunity for us to bring our unique thinking to solve problems, innovate and collaborate with our clients and beyond.

Our Projects >