One Pancras Square, King's Cross, London

Sir David Chipperfield
Date Built
Completed November 2013
Adjacent to Kings Cross and St Pancras Stations
Once a busy Victorian industrial area around an extensive railway goods yard and the Regent's Canal, the area behind King's Cross Station had, by the late 20th Century, become a relatively abandoned area of disused buildings, railway sidings, warehouses and contaminated land.  A Master Plan by Allies & Morrison and Porphyrios Associates drawn up circa 2006 sought planning permission for approximately 50 new buildings, 20 new streets, 10 new major public spaces, the restoration and refurbishment of 20 historic buildings and structures, and up to 2,000 homes.  One of the public spaces was Pancras Square around which a number of buildings were arranged including One Pancras Square designed by Sir David Chipperfield.

Chipperfield's website explains that the brief was to design, "... an office building with narrow (20m x 46m) footprint and a maximum height of 38m above street level. Situated on a new public square, the volume is visible from all sides calling for a strong visual identity."  The finished building, "... expresses strong tectonic horizontal and vertical elements: concrete floorplates extend beyond the building’s envelope while 396 cast iron columns emphasise and articulate the rhythm of the façades, adding character and depth, and recalling traditional post and beam structures. The columns stand clear of the rainscreen on the south façade, defining balconies on the upper floors giving the building a clear ‘front’ towards the urban square. On the other façades, the columns are engaged and form part of the envelope on the upper floors. Cast by a foundry in Halifax with a surface pattern of woven straps, the columns are both a reminder of the site’s industrial past and a nod to Gottfried Semper’s theory about the role of weaving in the evolution of man-made structures."

"On the ground floor, the façade is recessed to form a double height colonnade defined by the freestanding iron columns, providing a sheltered public area and access to the ground floor on all sides."  Inside there are eight floors of column free office space.  There is an entrance to the Underground on the north-east corner.

Mach & White, who describe themselves as, "... an international design house with studios in London & New York", refer to the development as the Gridiron Building.  Their involvement in the project was in the creation of, "... the ideal bespoke workspace for The Office Group .... Composed of both formal and informal lounges and contemporary meeting rooms over 20,000 sqft of floorspace.  The project spins commercial design on its head and has a warm residential feel throughout."