Internet giant Google has submitted long-awaited plans for a massive new headquarters at King’s Cross designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studio
Sitting just north of the mainline station, the £1 billion project known as the Zone A Building will provide 80,819m² of space for the company on developer Argent’s flagship regeneration site.
The delivery team behind the scheme, which has been on the drawing board in various guises for more than five years, includes AJ100 big hitter BDP as executive architect and landscape specialists Gillespies.
The huge office scheme was effectively put on hold in November 2013 after Google asked for AHMM’s consented scheme (pictured below) to be redesigned. Heatherwick Studio and BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) were subsequently brought in to come up with a new concept for the same site.
Both BIG and Heatherwick Studio are also working on Google’s HQ in Mountain View, California. The pair described the the King’s Cross scheme as a ‘Silicon Valley startup garage meets the London train sheds’.
Submitted as a reserved matters application to Camden Council this week, the King’s Cross project rises in height from seven to 11 storeys and will house more than 4,000 staff.
According to the submitted urban design report, the building will be lifted ’to create a column-free, varied and open ground plane that can change with time, akin to historic buildings such as Ledbury Market’.
The block will sit on a ‘plinth’ of shops, punctuated by office entrances, running along King’s Boulevard.
As well as a three-lane, 25m-long pool, the building will feature a huge landscaped roof including a 200m running and walking track.
Plans for the new London HQ have an estimated construction value of more than £600 million – £400 million for the shell and core, and around £200 million for the fit out.
Google’s staff are currently spread across offices in Covent Garden and Victoria, and the new offices will bring them together under one roof.
The tech giant already has a presence at the King’s Cross redevelopment site, having taken space inside 6 Pancras Square– a building designed by Wilmotte & Associes and fitted out by AHMM.
AHMM’s original proposals for Google new HQ (approved September 2013) - model shot
Thomas Heatherwick, founder of Heatherwick Studio
’As my home and the home of my studio for more than 15 years, I have a close relationship with King’s Cross. The area is a fascinating collision of diverse building types and spaces and I can’t help but love this mix of massive railway stations, roads, canals and other infrastructure all layered up into the most connected point in London.’
’This new building for Google is made from a family of interchangeable elements’
‘Influenced by these surroundings, we have treated this new building for Google like a piece of infrastructure too, made from a family of interchangeable elements which ensure that the building and its workspace will stay flexible for years to come’.
Bjarke Ingels, founding partner at Bjarke Ingels Group
’Our design for the new Google Campus at King’s Cross is rooted in the local character of the area, taking advantage of the contextually defined building envelope while creating continuously cascading work environments that will connect Googlers across multiple floors. By opening up the ground floor and activating the roofscape, the light and airy workspaces are sandwiched between the terraced gardens on the roof - and market halls, auditoria and shops on the ground.’