Renovation and extension of King’s Cross Station in London
Text: Christian Brensing
Of all the historic train stations in London, King's Cross (1852) may perhaps be said to have the most beautiful, possibly even the purest design of them all. Two simple yet elegant steel and glass vaults "(250x22x65 m) cover the halls containing eight platforms. In the course of preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics, John McAslan + Partners, an architectural and design practice based in London, were assigned with the redevelopment and structural extension of the station which was in dire need of major renovation.
Architect: John McAslan + Partners, London
Structural engineering design: Arup, London
Extensive parts of King's Cross are landmarked (Grade I-listed). In the course of two building stages, the station halls were cleaned and newly glazed, while the two Western and Eastern Range Buildings were carefully renovated and modernised.
The third stage of construction, and highlight of the building measures, is the Western Concourse with its rolling steel and glass roof. This free standing structure was newly built in front of the historic Western Range Building.
The new station entrance is located underneath a semi-circular roof that swoops up to a height of 20 m and extends with a span of 52 m and a diameter of 130 m. Aerial photographs illustrate the ideal fit of the geometry of the new roof between the rear of the Great Northern Hotel and the Western Range Building.
The largest self-supporting station roof in Europe (according to the architect) is distinguished by a white steel grid, which rises up vertically and then flares out elegantly out to the sides, much like an amazing giant cascading mushroom.
The outer rim of the roof construction weighing approximately 1,000 t rests on sixteen tree-shaped supports, each able to bear 600 t of weight.