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FIRST LOOK

Nine-storey workspace in King’s Cross completed by Squire & Partners

  • 1 Comment

Rolling Stock Yard’s façades reference stacked shipping containers and rail tracks in their design as a response to the building’s industrial setting

The 7,344m2 workspace development for small to medium-sized creative businesses offers units ranging in size from 150 to 680m2, with tenants having access to cycle storage, showers, lockers, a reception café and breakout space. The building draws its design concept from its site north of King’s Cross St Pancras, an area long characterised by transport, freight and industry. This is referenced in the expressed dark steel frame and solid oak sleepers employed as vertical slats on its exterior façades.

Internally, the industrial references continue with exposed concrete, blackened steel and perforated aluminium set against timber-lined recesses for the reception and café. A folding metal stair connects up to a mezzanine level for the café, with a 12 x 6m painting commissioned from London artist Barry Reigate providing a backdrop, with cartoon imagery, graffiti and cultural references to King’s Cross.

04 rollingstockyard s&p (c) jack hobhouse

04 rollingstockyard s&p (c) jack hobhouse

A pale grey poured resin floor with inlaid track patterns defines routes from the entrance to the reception, lifts and café. Suspended filament lighting elements hang vertically at assorted heights above a rug which continues the graphic of converging rail tracks.

Every floor has openable windows to allow for natural cross-ventilation, with exposed concrete ceilings continuing the industrial aesthetic. WCs are designed as ’superloos’ which include black Corian worktops and splashback, sink, large mirror and vertical feature lights.

A 140m2 private roof terrace with planters and feature linear floor lighting has been created on the upper level, while 300m2 of roof space has been planted with wildflowers and grasses selected to support local populations of birds, bees and butterflies. On top of this planted bed are 120 solar panels, with a further 80 panels on the south façade, providing the building with a sustainable energy source.

21 rollingstockyard s&p (c) jack hobhouse

21 rollingstockyard s&p (c) jack hobhouse

Architect’s view

The design of Rolling Stock Yard takes cues from local rail and freight industries. Converging railway lines and shipping containers are referenced, expressed as a series of stacked elements with a black profiled steel structure emulating parallel railway tracks running horizontally across the façades.

Within this horizontal grid, full-height glazing is softened by a layer of vertical solid oak sleepers and sinusoidal perforated metal screens to offer privacy and shade during daylight hours, and emit a diffused glow at night.

At pavement level the building animates the street with bespoke illuminated entrance signage behind a corrugated metal screen, and a double-height office entrance addressing York Way.

Branding and wayfinding were conceived as an evolution of the architecture and interiors concept, by our in-house branding agency Mammal. Referencing the railways and freight industry of King’s Cross, Mammal established a palette of rust orange, blue and white with a graphic identity based on parallel and converging lines.

Henry Squire, partner, Squire & Partners

26 rollingstockyard s&p (c) jack hobhouse

26 rollingstockyard s&p (c) jack hobhouse

Client’s view

Our vision for the site – just north of Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard – centred around creating a new destination for creative enterprise which builds on the area’s growing cultural community. We wanted the building to have a strong connection with post-industrial King’s Cross and celebrate contemporary architecture.

Squire & Partners’ approach established a strong aesthetic drawn from the historic roots of the area, and created generous and light-filled workspaces with inspiring communal spaces to bring building occupiers together.

Mark Goldbart, Newmark Properties LLP

02 ground floor plan 1to200@a3

02 ground floor plan 1to200@a3

Source: Squire & Partners

Ground floor plan

Project data

Start on site September 2018
Completion March 2020
Gross internal floor area 7,344m2
Gross external area 8,154m2
Form of contract or procurement route Design & Build (JCT 2016 edition)
Construction cost £22 million
Construction cost per m2 £2,988
Architect Squire & Partners
Client Newmark Properties LLP
Building owners Deepdale Investment Holdings Ltd
Structural engineer Davies Maguire
M&E consultant Atelier Ten
QS Currie & Brown
Planning consultant Tibbalds
Façade consultant Thornton Tomasetti
Façade Colourminium
Concrete frame Addingtons
Services Priority
Internal metalwork Zefyr
BREEAM assessor MTT Limited
Branding Mammal Design
Mural artist Barry Reigate
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown
Project manager Rougemont
Approved building inspector Approved Inspector Services Ltd
Main contractor Volker Fitzpatrick
CAD software used Microstation

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • I think that Henry Squire is referencing a fondly remembered ancient toy trainset, or perhaps the underground - rather than the 'real thing', as preserved in the paving of the Square outside - in the floor patterns; the sidings had no electric centre rail. Still, an inspired idea.

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