KCCLP’s mammoth King’s Cross development in north London has been expanding at an impressive rate over the past few years. The first phase of this 67-acre scheme is now open to the public with the full project including a staggering 50 new buildings, 2,000 new homes, 20 new streets, 10 new public spaces, 3.4 million sq ft of office space and 500,000 sq ft of retail.
This coming weekend (19 July), the Bennetts Associates-designed 5 Pancras Square will open to the public. The 14-storey volume is the latest to welcome the local community to King’s Cross and, having been obligated by Section 106, developers KCCLP have included a 3,000 sq ft leisure centre as part of the otherwise workspace-dominated scheme.
Users access the building through one of two entranceways: one facing St Pancras Station which funnels users into the leisure centre on the Lower Ground Floor, and one closer to King’s Cross Station on the Upper Ground Floor which provides access to the library facilities, main reception and turnstiles to the office units above.
Camden Council has snapped up all ten floors of offices above the public space, selling nine existing offices to fund the move and bringing its entire workforce together in one glittering new building. 5 Pancras Square also includes the Contract Camden Customer Services Centre.
Enclosed within the open four storeys at the base of the building is a 3,000 sq ft leisure centre with a 25m swimming pool, a public library and a café. The swimming pool - designed by leisure facilities architect LA Architects - offers four ways for disabled users to enter the pool, including the ability to raise and lower the pool floor so that users can enter the water gradually.
This pool area also includes a sauna and steam room, as well as a water play area for children, and can be hired out for functions or parties. Intelligent lighting systems play a significant role in the design, with one wall dominated by a brightly-coloured programmable light installation. The main lighting system is a series of LED lights behind a fabric ceiling, with the ability to pull the strings of lights to one end to replace the bulbs when necessary.
On the Upper Ground Floor and steel mezzanine users will find a public library catering to all ages. Chartreuse picnic benches look out over the nearby park and St Pancras Station, and provide an area for people to relax with a book or catch up over a coffee.
The structural arrangement of the building clearly expresses its intended use, with the lower public areas expressed as a long-spanning concrete structure in comparison to the upper workspace floors which are characterised externally by anodised bronze cladding for solar shading. These upper levels are also animated by balconies. The lightweight steel mezzanine in the public area is suspended from deep transfer beams that enable the larger spans needed to accommodate the swimming pool and studios.
On the upper floors, the administrative areas are arranged around a cavernous central atrium. Daylight streams into this void and out into the open-plan working areas where the Camden Council staff are already starting to work on a hot-desking policy. Atelier Works provided insight into incorporating ‘non-political’ colours on each floor to differentiate between spaces, applying this strategy to furniture, wayfinding and key wall areas.
The overall building achieved a BREEAM rating of Outstanding with an impressive 96% (out of a possible 104%). 5 Pancras Square is linked to the King's Cross heating network which provides 100% of the development's heating and hot water needs. Bennetts Associates' design is based on a combination of passive and active features, with a high thermal mass concrete structure, lower solar gain, a blend of natural and mechanical ventilation, and large quantities of daylighting.
Additional images coming soon...
Client: London Borough of Camden
Development Manager: King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP)
Lead Architect: Bennetts Associates
Leisure Facilities Architect: LA Architects
Structural Engineer: AKT II
Services Engineer: Grontmij
Quantity Surveyor: Gardiner + Theobald
Leisure Facilities Operator: Greenwich Leisure Limited
Colour Strategy: Atelier Works