Decoding Design

In London, a modern departure for King's Cross Station

In London, a modern departure for King's Cross Station

Posting in Architecture

Europe's largest single span station structure links old and new in King's Cross Station.

As part of a redevelopment plan for the King's Cross area of London, the renovations to King's Cross Station link old and new. The adaptive re-use strategy is a relatively modern approach to transit infrastructure design for the United Kingdom, home to some of the most imaginative newly built transportation projects.

The showstopper and heart of the station renovation is the sweeping diagrid (diagonal grid) steel frame roof of the Western Concourse. The canopy creates new entrances at the south and north ends of the station. At 20 meters (65 1/2 feet) high and 150 meters (492 feet) long, the Concourse is Europe’s largest single span station structure.

Designed by John McAslan + Partners and engineered by Arup, the diagrid canopy is a response to English Heritage laws that prohibit new structures from placing any load on existing National Heritage designated buildings.

The structure is supported by a giant funnel at the center and 16 tree columns at the perimeter. Each tree column supports 1.5 metric tonnes (1.65 tons). The 1,212 triangular panels of steel and glass allow the public space to be lit naturally.

The station project has been 14 years in the making and also includes

  • adaptive re-use of the original range buildings
  • restoration of the Western Range's Grade I listed facade, uncovered for the first time since 1972
  • refurbishing the station’s main train shed and placing photovoltaic arrays on two barrel-vaulted roofs
  • repairing damages sustained during World War II
  • redesigned wayfinding throughout the station.

The restored and renovated station opened to the public on March 19th, in time to become the city's architectural gateway for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Via: Domus

Images: Courtesy John McAslan + Partners

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure