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Google's King's Cross HQ set for approval

Planners at Camden Council have recommended Google’s £1bn HQ at King’s Cross for approval.

The web giant’s new offices, designed by architects Heatherwick Studios and Bjarke Ingel’s BIG, have been given the go-ahead by the borough’s planning officers ahead of a formal decision at committee next week.

The planning officer’s report stated that the revised design adds “gentle varieties and rigorous repetitions in the façade mitigate the intervention of this large new form into the townscape and wider context.

“The building takes a new approach to the traditional office floorspace through creating triple and double-height spaces which open up the function of the office space up through the elevation while maximising the daylight and sunlight onto the office floors.”

Sited to the north of the main line station, the new HQ is valued at £600m, with £400m for the shell and core and around £200m for fit-out. The cost of the total development is believed to stand at £1bn.

Known as the Zone A Building, the new HQ will provide 80,819 sq m of space for the internet giant on developer Argent’s flagship regeneration site.

Lendlease was confirmed as main contractor on the project in February, fending off competition from Mace, Multiplex and Sir Robert McAlpine. 

The delivery team behind the scheme, which has been on the drawing board in various guises for more than five years, includes BDP as executive architect and landscape specialists Gillespies. 

The project was effectively put on hold in November 2013 after Google asked for AHMM’s consented scheme to be redesigned.

Heatherwick Studio and BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) were subsequently brought in to come up with a new concept for the same site.

Both BIG and Heatherwick Studio are also working on Google’s HQ in Mountain View, California. The pair described the King’s Cross scheme as a “Silicon Valley start-up garage meets the London train sheds”.

Submitted as a reserved matters application to Camden Council this week, the King’s Cross project rises in height from seven to 11 storeys and will house more than 4,000 staff.

The building will sit on a ‘plinth’ of shops, punctuated by office entrances running along King’s Boulevard.

As well as a three-lane 25 m-long pool, the building will feature a huge landscaped roof including a 200 m running and walking track.

Google’s staff are currently spread across offices in Covent Garden and Victoria, and the new offices will bring them together under one roof.

The tech giant already has a presence at the King’s Cross redevelopment site, having taken space inside 6 Pancras Square – a building designed by Wilmotte & Associes and fitted out by AHMM. 

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