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First peek at Heatherwick's King’s Cross retail scheme

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Heatherwick Studios has submitted plans to convert the former coal drop buildings at King’s Cross into shops and restaurants

The 10,000m² scheme, which is backed by developer Argent as part of the King’s Cross Development Partnership (KCDP), aims to ‘secure the long-term future of the historic [structures] built in the 1850s to receive freight arriving from the north of England’.

It is understood the proposal features a link bridge between the two existing buildings.

Original plans for the site next to Central Saint Martins were drawn up by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (see below).

According to the KCDP, ‘the cobbled streets and Victorian brick arches will house quirky boutiques, restaurants, galleries, music venues and bars’ and there will be ‘shops and cafés spilling out onto the streets and public spaces’.

Coal Drops - outlined in red on the King's Cross aerial view

The coal drops site – outlined in red on this King’s Cross aerial visualisaiton

Previous story (AJ 15.08.14)

Heatherwick to resurrect King’s Cross ‘glass’ bridge

Thomas Heatherwick has been appointed by Argent to resurrect plans for a signature bridge at King’s Cross which was shelved during the recession

Heatherwick was appointed in 2002 by the developer to draw up plans for the link across the Regent’s Canal from Goods Way to Granary Square. But his original designs for a £5 million footbridge made entirely from glass were considered too expensive and were dropped in 2012.

Now the developer has again engaged Heatherwick to revisit the designs – although the new bridge will not be constructed from glass. Argent director David Partridge said: ‘We always wanted to work with [Heatherwick] on King’s Cross because he is a world-renowned and extraordinarily talented designer.’

Previous glass bridge plans by Heatherwick Studio

Source: Heatherwick Studio

Previous glass bridge plans by Heatherwick Studio

Heatherwick’s original design comprised 1,334 sheets of 12mm-thick glass sheets held together by compression and lit from within. It won a design prize, the Bombay Sapphire Award, in 2002.

Heatherwick said: ‘We have a longstanding relationship with Argent and it is fantastic to be working on [the] footbridge.’

Heatherwick is also drawing up proposals for other parts of the King’s Cross development site, including the ‘Coal Drops’, the transformation of a series of Victorian brick and cast iron railway arches into a heritage-led retail quarter with up to 90 boutiques, restaurants, galleries and music venues.

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands is the lead architect on the scheme at present but consultation on additional proposals for the Coal Drops is expected to begin in the autumn.

The news comes amid growing debate over Heatherwick’s proposed Thames Garden Bridge.

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