One Pancras Square

This new freestanding speculative office building is situated at the southern end of the larger Kings Cross mixed-use redevelopment, an industrial brownfield site north of the major transport hubs of Kings Cross and St Pancras International. Together with the neighbouring listed German Gymnasium, the office building forms the southern tip of the development, overlooking Battle Bridge Place.

One Pancras Square

This new freestanding speculative office building is situated at the southern end of the larger Kings Cross mixed-use redevelopment, an industrial brownfield site north of the major transport hubs of Kings Cross and St Pancras International. Together with the neighbouring listed German Gymnasium, the office building forms the southern tip of the development, overlooking Battle Bridge Place.

The brief called for an office building with a limited height of 38 metres above street level within a narrow footprint of 20 by 46 metres as set by the masterplan. Recognising the prominent position of the building in its context, the design ensures the structure asserts its presence by creating a strong front façade to address the public area of Battle Bridge Place. This front is reinforced by the covered south-facing balconies supported by freestanding cast-iron columns over the double-height loggia, and by the extension of the raised plinth used to reconcile the base of the building with the sloping site.

The reading of the building is rooted in a clear expression of horizontal and vertical elements; the concrete floor plates protrude from the envelope of the building while cast-iron columns strengthen the rhythm and articulation of the building. In total, 396 cast-iron columns stand at regular intervals across the façades, adding character and depth to the post-and-beam construction. A large number of the columns stand proud, defining the balconies and the peristyle of the peripheral loggia. The remaining columns are engaged and form part of the rain screen façade. The façades feature floor-to-ceiling fixed glass panes with narrow hinged panels on either side allowing for natural ventilation. Reminiscent of the site’s industrial past, the columns are made from recycled iron cast at a foundry in Halifax. Classicist in spirit, the columns are patterned with woven straps – a nod to Gottfried Semper’s theory that the process of weaving was essential to the evolution of man-made structures.

Despite the prominence of the south façade, a double-height colonnade defined by freestanding columns surrounds the building on all four sides, providing a sheltered public area and access to the ground floor. The main entrances are situated to the east and west, leading into a double-height lobby lined with Italian Grigio Carnico marble at ground level and white polished plaster above. From here, three lifts finished in blackened stainless steel provide access to the upper storeys of generous floor-to-ceiling height. A pair of central cores define the internal arrangement for the eight office levels, leaving the support-free open spaces of the well-lit floors to be organised by their tenants. Typically each floor measures 655 square metres with an additional 55 square-metre balcony. Articulated as the crown of the building, the top floor enjoys an increased ceiling height and contains the required plant space at the north end. As well as providing office space, the building also houses two commercial units on the ground floor and an entrance for the London Underground on the north-east corner.

Date:
2008-2013
Gross floor area:
8,200 m²
Client:
Argent (King's Cross) Ltd
Architect:
David Chipperfield Architects, London
Director:
Oliver Ulmer, Andrew Phillips
Project architect:
Peter Jurschitzka, Mattias Kunz
Services engineer:
Grontmij
Quantity surveyor:
Gardiner & Theobald
General contractor:
BAM Construction Ltd.
Photography:
Rory Gardiner