King's Cross P2

London, King's Cross. 2021

  • Project Details
  • Completion: 2021
  • Clients: King’s Cross Central Partnership

King's Cross P2 is a key piece of the King’s Cross Central masterplan, designed to complete a key area of the developing neighbourhood and to complement the existing public realm. Acting as a backdrop to the public Lewis Cubitt Square, Building P2 is a mixed-use, office-led development, including retail and a 600-seat theatre within the universal building frame. Designed as a building with a defined base, middle and crown, the upper floors of the building are set back from the lower section to reduce the overall mass of the building, respect contextual relationships and create a series of generous planted terraces at the building’s fifth floor. A deep façade of honed, pre-cast concrete elements creates an elevational grid directly influenced by key geometries of the surrounding context. Variation within the façade system is achieved by reinforcing the vertical elements to the lower section of the building, and the horizontal elements on the set-back floors that form the upper section. Internally, a steel frame supports pre-cast floor slabs that create visual continuity with the external pre-cast concrete ledges. Large floorplates of generous height create flexible working environments and are connected by characterful common parts that are defined through a strategic use of robust linings and exposed concrete elements.

Building P2 is a key piece of the King’s Cross Central masterplan, designed to complete a key area of the developing neighbourhood and complement existing public realm. As such, it has an important role as a civic ‘backdrop’, and sits next to the primary retail offer at Coal Drops Yard (to the south), residential neighbours in the Gasholder Triplets (to the south) and the Plimsoll Building (to the west). The latter also includes the co-located King’s Cross Academy and the Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children. To the north, Handyside Street separates Lewis Cubitt Park from Lewis Cubitt Square which sits against Building P2.

Building P2 is a mixed-use building, incorporating approximately 195,000 sq.ft. (NIA) of B1 office space over nine floors, and a penthouse mezzanine. A welcoming and engaging ground floor is created, with a generous office lobby to Lewis Cubitt Square and a characterful cycle entrance on the western elevation to Wollstonecraft Street. To the south, a large flexible retail unit continues the retail journey from Coal Drops Yard and to the north, a 600-seat theatre, with an auditorium capable of a variety of staging configurations creates a visible and vibrant cultural attraction for King’s Cross Central.

The building’s façade is designed to provide a distinctive but contextual backdrop to Lewis Cubitt Square. A white, honed polished pre-cast concrete frame is embedded with stones and aggregates with colours influenced by the surrounding public realm. This universal system of pre-cast concrete frame is articulated differently throughout the building to create areas of deep façade, as well as a differing vertical and horizontal language between the lower and upper parts of the building. Within the pre-cast concrete frame sits a grain of window and spandrel, designed to maximise views from and daylight into the building. The window framing and spandrel design sits in contrast to the pre-cast concrete and uses an ink-blue hue in reference to the industrial heritage of the site.

At ground floor, the building’s façade is designed to provide visual and experiential variety and quality to the street experience. The pre-cast concrete façade continues, but gains solidity through wider concrete elements, and the use of solid, fluted concrete elements and integrated benches that encourage the public to approach, and interact with the building. Within this frame, generous, curved oriel bays provide a universal glazing system for retail and theatre. Double and single height oriels are used strategically to add variance to the ground floor experience and to respond to contextual relationships.

At fifth floor level, the building sets back to afford greater privacy to the residential neighbours, and to improve daylight and pedestrian experience at street level. This terrace is organised based upon the chevron pattern from Lewis Cubitt Square which defines large areas of planting and soft landscaping that create distinctive areas within the wider terrace. Conceived as a single terrace, but with the ability to be divided into distinct areas should the building be occupied by multiple tenants, large flexible seating areas to the south-east, north-east and west are linked by a route through landscaped habitats that provide a varied and vibrant terrace atmosphere.

Internally, a steel frame creates large areas of flexible office floorspace, whilst pre-cast concrete planks create a consistent visual relationship between the façade and internal soffit. A fan-coil unit servicing solution is used with the building’s primary services located within the basement, in turn allowing the office accommodation to extend to the building’s crown.

Common parts of the building are designed to be characterful but robust, with finishes chosen to enhance the architectural design without unnecessary finishes. Core spaces have been designed to maximise their width, height and natural light with landlord risers located to ensure ongoing access from the common parts. Washrooms have been designed to be akin to the main core, with the same high-quality finishes. Two stairwells are located to the west of the core, meaning that they sit on an external wall to the upper, set-back floors and can be glazed - giving activity and engagement to the façade design and providing natural light through the stair core down the building. In addition, these stairwells are glazed into the lift lobbies themselves, to ensure that the stairs are considered as part of the main circulation of the building, and to encourage building users to use the stair in lieu of the lifts.

At lower ground level, the building’s office cycle store provides 238 cycle spaces through a variety of means, be they traditional stands or lockers for folding bikes. The cycle store is arranged in a circular ‘racetrack’ arrangement with a central island of showers and changing facilities and generous locker provision. Direct access to the building’s core is also provided from the cycle store. This cycle store is linked to a key piece of the street level façade via a wide cycle stair and scenic lift.

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