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Piercy & Company gets green light for King's Cross duo

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Camden Council has approved plans by Piercy & Company for a pair of new buildings in King’s Cross featuring a mix of homes, office space and shops

The 28,804m² scheme, known as R8, is the practice’s ’largest and most complex projects to date’ and will range in height from 10 to 13 storeys.

A key part of Argent’s King’s Cross central masterplan, the project will sit north of Stanton Williams’ Central St Martins school of art and design and next to Duggan Morris’ 14,000m² office development known as R7 (see AJ 17.04.15).

The R8 plot was originally conceived as a single, enclosed city block. However Piercy & Company’s competition-winning scheme carves ’a public courtyard through the centre of the site creating a small piece of city with a complex horizontal and vertical mix of uses’.

According to the practice the design was inspired by the area’s Victorian warehouses and their ’generous, light-filled spaces that can be endlessly adapted for living and working’.

For the scheme Piercy & Company has developed a new system of thin, lightweight ultra high performance concrete units ’inlaid with finely textured brickwork’.

The scheme, which is predicted to achieve a Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 rating for the residential parts and BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for the offices, is expected to start on site next year (2017).

Architect’s view: Pete Jennings, director of Piercy & Company 

’This is one of our largest and most complex projects to date. But the scale and complexity also contribute to its richness. One of the striking things about the warehouse and transport architecture of King’s Cross is the attention to detail and craft of these utilitarian buildings. We wanted that generosity and texture to permeate the character of the whole scheme and Argent fully supported that; not only by encouraging our lofty, 3m high living spaces but also by including interior design within our role. Our appointment as interior designers allows us to fully realise the concept and quality, down to the smallest details.’

Piercy and Company's proposals for the R8 buildings at King's Cross

Project data

Architect: Piercy & Company
Client: King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership
Structural Engineer: Arup
M&E Engineer: Grontmij
Cost Consultant: Gardiner & Theobald
Landscape Architects: Townshend Landscape Architects
Courtyard Landscape Design: Tom Stuart-Smith Landscape Design
Project Address: King’s Cross Central, London
Project Size: 28,804m²

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It might not be comparing apples with apples, but considering the humanity of Hawkins Brown's development for Peabody at St John's Hill in comparison with what various architects are producing for Argent at King's Cross, I just wonder if the latter development is relying too much on the revitalised area around the canal and Central St Martins to give it some humanity, to save it from the banality of high density and some (not all) remarkably soulless (however well detailed) office and apartment blocks.
    The new buildings might be distinguished by exotic brickwork, fancy cast iron columns and carefully considered proportions, but it's clear that this doesn't necessarily result in distinguished architecture - and the density seems to be resulting in some gloomy and canyon-like spaces between buildings.
    Two years ago the AJ, with Argent, published an excellent walking guide to the area, and development proceeds apace, but I wonder if the understandable ambition to rescue a seedy and run-down area of central London and ensure that the financial arithmetic adds up has led to some unfortunate master-planning decisions on density?
    Could the planning authority and developers have taken an unduly cautious view of the financial viability of all this redevelopment, at the expense of the built environment being created?

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