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King’s Cross work still to be won

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Argent is looking to appoint up to 10 new architects to work on its £2 billion King’s Cross redevelopment

The string of future architectural appointments remains up for grabs almost six years after outline planning was won for the 27-hectare central London brownfield regeneration.

Sites on the masterplan still without architects include one with five buildings totalling 70,000m² of office space directly next to King’s Cross station. At the time of going to press, Argent declined to comment on a report in the Evening Standard published this week that AHMM had been appointed to build a new HQ for Google on the plot.

The King's Cross redevelopment in London

The King’s Cross redevelopment in London

Also on the table are two pedestrian bridges and a ‘quirky’ pavilion close to Stanton Williams’ £90 million new Central Saint Martins campus, which completed last year as a centrepiece of the Porphyrios Associates, Allies & Morrison, and Townshend Landscape Architects-masterplanned railway land redevelopment.

Argent joint chief executive David Partridge expects to make between five and 10 architectural appointments over the next decade, potentially including the re-masterplanning of the area’s north-west quarter that could provide work for up to eight practices.

Asked how the company picks architects, Partridge explained: ‘It’s a combination of people we’ve known in the past and people we’d like to work with.’

The scheme’s original masterplanners would sit on the competition panel of any future design contests, he said.

Argent has carried through 35 reserved matters approvals since winning outline consent in 2006 and has employed 21 architects, including David Morley, Eric Parry and Niall McLaughlin, so far.

The practice chosen to design the Aga Khan Development Network’s planned culture and education centre on the site has yet to be announced.

Carmody Groarke’s scheme to transform a disused petrol station on the site’s eastern edge into temporary restaurant and events space, the Filling Station, won planning last week (1 March).

Bell Phillips’ 2009 open competition-winning scheme for the area’s iconic gasholders, which have been relocated, has been tweaked to feature a sunken amphitheatre. Amended proposals will soon be submitted for planning.

Projects on site include housing by Maccreanor Lavington, Glenn Howells and PRP at the northern end; and offices by Bennetts Associates, Wilmotte Associates, David Chipperfield Architects and Allies & Morrison in the south. Chipperfield’s eight-storey scheme includes a subterranean entrance to King’s Cross underground station.

A 143-unit residential scheme by dRMM and Stanton Williams’ transformation of the Western Transit Shed into retail and offices are expected to complete next year.

Argent joint chief executive David Partridge

Argent joint chief executive David Partridge

‘We’ve been able to break it down into bite-sized chunks,’ said Partridge, describing King’s Cross as ‘bringing development into a bunch of tiny sites… delivered as a string of 50 or 60 projects.’

Argent owns a 50 per cent stake in the land but is development manager for the entire site, allowing it to control design quality. London and Continental Railways and logistics company DHL own the remaining stakes. King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership is the developer and brings together all three firms.

‘We will only part with land on the basis the design works with the overall masterplan and there is an absolute commitment for delivering them,’ Partridge said. Schemes are also reviewed by Argent’s board before approval.

We spent £250 million on building the place and infrastructure,’ said Partridge. This strategy and the ‘strength of the masterplan’ has allowed development to proceed on a plot by plot basis.


The King’s Cross redevelopment masterplan

The redevelopment of King's Cross in London

The redevelopment of King’s Cross in London


Canal Reach T6; Glenn Howells; 657-unit student accommodation; on site, completion Q3 2013


Canal Reach T5; Stanton Williams; Aga Khan student accommodation; concept design


 York Way R5(N); Maccreanor Lavington; mixed-use social housing; on site, completion Q1 2013


York Way R5(S); Maccreanor Lavington; mixed-use residential; Stage D design


York Way R4; PRP Architects; mixed-use social housing; on site, completion Q3 2012

Source: © The Neighbourhood

York Way R4; PRP Architects; mixed-use social housing; on site, completion Q3 2012

York Way R4; PRP Architects; mixed-use social housing; on site, completion Q3 2012


Cubitt Park R3; TBC; residential


Handyside Street R1; TBC; Aga Khan education centre; brief development


Handyside Street R2; Allies and Morrison; 36,000m² offices; Stage D design


Handyside Street Q1; TBC; Aga Khan offices; brief development


ArtHouse; dRMM; 143-unit residential; on site, completion Q3 2013


Handyside Canopy; Stanton Williams; market; completed September 2011


Canalside Pavilion; Stanton Williams; restaurant; Stage C design


Central Saint Martins; Stanton Williams; 40,000m2 art school; completed September 2011


Western Transit Shed; Stanton Williams; retail and offices; on site, completion Q4 2012


Fish and Coal Offices; David Morley Architects; office conversion;concept design


Coal Drops; Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands; boutique retail; concept design

Source: © GMJ

Coal Drops; Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands; boutique retail; concept design

Coal Drops; Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands; boutique retail; concept design


Gasholder Triplet; Wilkinson Eyre; residential; concept design


Gasholder No. 8; Bell Phillips; event space; concept design


Canal Reach T1; Niall McLaughlin; mixed-residential; start on site 2012


Canal Reach T2; Bennetts Associates; 16,000m² offices; Stage C design


Handyside Street P1; David Morley; mixed-use residential and deaf school; start on site 2012


Cubitt Square P2; TBC; Aga Khan cultural centre; brief development


Petrol Filling Station; Carmody Groarke; restaurant; planning approved


Pancras Square B3; Bennetts Associates; Camden Council offices; on-site, completion Q3 2014


Pancras Square B5; Eric Parry; 16,000m² offices; concept design


Pancras Square B6, Porphyrios Associates; 14,700m² offices; reserve matters approval


Pancras Square B4; Allies & Morrison; 11,400m² offices; basement on site, delivery Q1 2014


Pancras Square B2, David Chipperfield; 5,100m² offices; basement on site, delivery Q4 2013

Source: © GMJ

Pancras Square B2, David Chipperfield; 5,100m² offices; basement on site, delivery Q4 2013

Pancras Square B2, David Chipperfield; 5,100m² offices; basement on site, delivery Q4 2013


Pancras Square B1; Wilmotte Associates; 31,500m² BNP Paribas offices; on site, completion Q1 2015


Clarence Passage E1; Studio Downie; 1,800m² offices; Stage D design


Great Northern Hotel; Dextor Moren; 95-bed hotel; on site, completion Q1 2013


Schemes with architects yet to be confirmed include five office buildings next to King’s Cross station, two pedestrian bridges; a ‘quirky’ pavilion and potential re-masterplanning of the north-west quarter


Public realm

Pancras Square; Townshend Landscape Architects; city square; on site

Granary Square;Townshend Landscape Architects; square with water fountains; on site, completion June

Handyside Park; Dan Pearson Studio; gardens with play area; on site, completion August 2013

Cubitt Square and Cubitt Park; TBC; brief development

Wharf Road Park; Townshend Landscape Architects; concept design



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