img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

King’s Cross Masterplan, Camden

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates stitch a previously cut-off part of the city back into the wider urban fabric to win it a 2024 RIBA London Award

King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock

2024 RIBA London Award

King’s Cross Masterplan, Camden
Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates for Argent on behalf of King’s Cross Central Partnership
Contract value: Confidential 
GIA: 685,400m2

Although its last new buildings are just being completed, the redesigned King’s Cross is beginning to feel like it has always been there, and that, crucially, it ‘works’. There is no higher testament to the success of a masterplan as a piece of city-making. Its story began over 20 years ago. From the start, the project team set out their ‘principles for a human city’, based on offering character, variety, choice, and a sense of belonging which can underpin rapidly changing patterns of social and economic behaviour. These have been deployed not in a grandiose manner, but through careful understanding and reshaping of found geometries, stitching a previously cut-off part of the city back into the wider urban fabric. Excellent buildings by a range of architects characterise the campus, but all in a way that informs and substantiates the critical open spaces and routes which are the project’s true legacy.

  • King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
    King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
  • King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
    King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
  • King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
    King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
  • King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
    King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
1234

Even though many of the jury knew the project personally, whether they had taken their young children to play in the Granary Square fountains or enjoyed restaurants or films there, the tour was eye-opening when experienced as a totality. The architects and client explained how, rather than imposing an urban geometry and building design codes, with which they were very familiar on other projects, they had simply asked that the architects of the individual buildings ‘respect’ each other. This straightforward inversion of responsibility makes all the difference in the quality of the buildings. Indeed, it flows from their original approach to the masterplan, where ‘found-ness’ is prized, the site’s history (coal drops, gasometers) is celebrated and integrated, and there is a sense that its success is predicated on it almost disappearing into normality.

Two routes – King’s Boulevard and Pancras Square – lead north to cross the Regent’s Canal. The infilled canal basin of Cubitt’s Granary Building, now the Central Saint Martins art school, has become a lively public space. Twenty new streets and lanes, ten new open spaces, including five new squares with buildings by 30 architects, and 20 refurbished historic buildings and structures, including reclaimed gasometers, make up an appropriately scaled piece of London. There are two primary schools, more than 1,700 new homes, over 4 million ft2 of office space, an art gallery, cinema, shops, centre for Islam, and of course the art college. Over  40% of its 27ha is open space, with more than 600 plant species and 400 trees.

  • King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
    King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
  • King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
    King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
  • King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
    King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
  • King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
    King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
  • King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
    King's Cross Masterplan. John Sturrock
12345

The developer client was able to set goals for all the buildings and spaces, with reduction of energy demand, use of a district energy centre, decarbonisation, and energy procurement goals all embedded in the design briefs. Ten of the new buildings are BREEAM Outstanding. Combined with the carbon savings through retention and renovation of the historic buildings, it all makes for a robust sustainability narrative.

King’s Cross Masterplan is a global exemplar in how to make a community of places which supports human activity, maintains an urban identity, and is supple enough to accommodate inevitable change.

See the rest of the RIBA London winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Gardiner & Theobald
Landscape architects Townshend Landscape Architects, Applied Landscape Design

 

Credit: Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates
Credit: Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates
Credit: Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates
Credit: Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates
Credit: Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates
Credit: Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates

Latest articles

Webinar: Architecture for Housing and Residential Development

  1. Products

Architecture for Housing and Residential Development webinar

Webinar: Addressing Onsite Safety using Fall Protection Systems

  1. Products

Webinar: Addressing Onsite Safety using Fall Protection Systems

PiP Design for Sustainability Webinar 2024

  1. Products

PiP Design for Sustainability Webinar 2024