John McAslan + Partners has completed the first phase of its transformation of King’s Cross station
The Grade-I listed Eastern Range has been restored to provide 7,000 sq m of commercial office space - but will temporarily house rail staff displaced from other parts of the station during the £400 million overhaul.
Refurbishment of the Eastern Range is part of a larger strategy for the redevelopment of King’s Cross - designed in 1852 by Lewis Cubitt - which is expected to compete in 2012.
Lead architect Hiro Aso, said timely completion of the Eastern Range works ‘has been crucial to the chronology and choreography of the entire infrastructure scheme’.
The architects have approached renovation of the heritage building with a similar ‘sensitivity’, previously demonstrated in their work at the Roundhouse, Camden.
Pauline Nee, head of the historic building team at John McAslan said: ‘We aimed to expose and express as much of the original structure as possible in homage to the robustness of Cubitt’s original design’. To bring the building back to life, specialist craftsmen were involved in the careful restoration of glazed bricks, cornices and lead gutters which suffered 24 years of neglect as the building lay derelict.
The Eastern Range offers a glimpse of what the complete station re-model will look like on completion in time for the London Olympics 2012. When station staff move back into premises on the western side, the use of the Eastern Range will be reappraised. The architects hope to see it partially inhabited by a ‘Ramsay-esque restaurant’, where diners can relax overlooking the hustle and bustle on the platforms below.