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Allies and Morrison's 'pioneering' King's Cross cooling pod approved

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AJ120 practice Allies and Morrison has won planning for a ‘pioneering’ railside plant will supply energy via trigeneration to several buildings in King’s Cross development

The 1,226m² ‘pod’ will provide a centralised cooling energy generation plant for a number of buildings, and will sit on a strip of disused land on the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) development.

Constructed with profiled metal cladding, the structure will be 120 metres long and vary between six and nine metres in width on the site next to the High Speed 1 railway line.


According to the practice, by optimising the sustainable generation of energy through trigeneration – combined heat, power and cooling – the cooling pod will allow energy to be produced on site, making it more efficient than conventional energy generated from a power station.

Jason Syrett, partner at Allies and Morrison, said: ‘The unique way in which [the pod] will provide centralised site-wide cooling for a number of buildings utilising trigeneration is pioneering within the UK.

‘This facility will contribute to the ongoing sustainable urban regeneration of King’s Cross.’

Construction is due to start on site in early next year with the building operational in late 2017.

Architect’s view

‘The cooling pod fronts two very different urban contexts, with railways to the west and office buildings to the east. As a result the external envelope has been designed to respond to each context appropriately. The railway elevation provides a ‘theatrical’ response to a transient audience. A series of metal fin components screen the functional array of louvres and vents behind, and set up a diagonal inflection which dynamically engages with shifting views from moving trains.

‘The office-facing elevation is a more urban facade. It is subdivided to suggest a domestic scale at the six-metre radial structural grid which orders the repeating door panels and architectural fins. The end elevations are conceived as ‘bookends’ to the building.

‘The cooling pod has an extensive wildflower green roof. Air outlet attenuation units are represented as chimney elements, reflecting the wider urban infrastructure function of the building. They also recall steam locomotives, alongside the railway lines.’

Project data

Location King’s Cross, London
Type of project Infrastructure
Client Argent 
Architect Allies and Morrison
Structural Engineers Ramboll
M&E consultant (building) E3
M&E consultant (plant) Vital Energi
Quantity surveyor Gardiner & Theobald
Planning supervisor NLP Planning
Main contractor Carillion
Start on site date Early 2016
Completion date Late 2017
Gross internal floor area 1,226m²
Form of contract and/or procurement Design & Build


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