The ‘kissing links’ structure that will make up the roof of a new shopping centre at King’s Cross Coal Drops Yard is certainly striking.
Bam’s redevelopment of the King’s Cross Coal Drops Yard is a big job, with the contractor having started work in the general King’s Cross area in 2008. Work began on the 100,000 sq ft Coal Drops Yard scheme in early 2016 and work is due for completion late next year.
The Open Doors tour takes my group to the north side of the development, looking down towards the ‘kissing whales’, two steel structure links, bandied together ahead, that will make up the roof of the new Heatherwick-designed shopping centre.
Bam Kings Cross Coals Drop 5
Project manager David Packham says developer Argent is already in talks with a number of prospective tenants.
The scheme was approved by Camden Council in December 2015, with Bam appointed as main contractor to convert the former coal drop buildings into shops and restaurants.
Speaking following the approval, Argent senior projects director Morwenna Hall said: “Coal Drops Yard has been designed to be a shopping experience unlike any other.
“The design by Heatherwick Studio is a considered response to the important Victorian industrial buildings from the 1850s; in fact, the ability for future visitors to the Coal Drops Yard to appreciate the history and various functions of these buildings has been fundamental to the design process.”
The second part of the tour is a smaller development across the square, but no less impressive. The R1 site, which will form new education facilities for the Aga Khan Development Network. Last year, CN reported the new building was understood to have a construction value of around £50m.
Bam Kings Cross Coals Drop 9
Once complete, it will be home to the AKDN’s Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.
Before I leave, I speak to one of my fellow tour members, a local resident who’s interested in seeing how the projects are coming along. On Open Doors, she says: “The community engagement has been very good… I’m interested in seeing how all these big projects come together.”
Scheme Coal Drops, R1 and Zone B
Contractor Bam Construct UK
Developer Argent (wider King’s Cross development)
Start date Early 2016 (Coal Drops Yard)
Completiondate Late 2018 (Coal Drops Yard)