The sympathetic redevelopment of King’s Cross station in the city of London is turning 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.
The £400m restoration and redevelopment was announced in 2005. From the earliest stages, Arup – working with architects John McAslan + Partners – has been at the heart of the design process for this ambitious 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 would need to do this while keeping one of the busiest stations in London running safely and smoothly.
The project would also have to integrate with an equally complex underground station. As lead designer for King's Cross St Pancras underground station, Arup has already helped to deliver a project to relieve congestion, improve safety and increase capacity.
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 a vision for the station that will see the 1970s concourse removed and a new concourse placed on the western side. This will open up the front of the station, as the original architect intended in 1852, and create 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 helps 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.