The sympathetic redevelopment of King’s Cross station in London turned an unloved, historic rail terminus into a dynamic transport hub and a destination in its own right.
Arup’s work on King’s Cross station embraced transport planning, multi-disciplinary engineering services, security, IT, lighting design, acoustics, visualisation and pedestrian modelling, as well as being the lead consultant.
From the earliest stages, Arup – working with architects John McAslan + Partners – was at the heart of the design process for this ambitious £400m project.
The core challenge for the project team was threading the requirements of a modern mainline station seamlessly into the historic Grade I-listed structure. They needed to do this while keeping one of the busiest stations in London running safely and smoothly.
The project also had to integrate with an equally complex underground station. As lead designer for King's Cross St Pancras underground station, Arup had already helped to deliver a project to relieve congestion, improve safety and increase capacity.
£400m redevelopment project
1852year station first opened to passengers
Arup’s pedestrian modelling team worked on the project for ten years to help the design team and stakeholders understand how people use the station – right down to the last detail.
This work helped the architect to shape the vision for the station that saw the 1970s concourse removed and a new concourse placed on the western side. This opened up the front of the station, as the original architect intended in 1852, creating the largest new public square in London in recent years.
The diagrid shell
The diagrid shell structure of the new concourse roof spans to and is supported by perimeter tree columns and a central funnel structure – making it structurally independent of the sensitive Grade I-listed Western Range building.
The envelope and structure of the roof are fully integrated. This gives it both an elegant, natural form and also a modular, repetitive construction that helped fabrication and erection.
Arup’s lighting design for the concourse uses highly efficient and colour-stable ceramic-based metal halide projectors to uplight the roof’s diagrid structure. The result is a light and airy atmosphere that connects passengers to the time of day and the life of the city outside.