Wrightstyle, one of Europe’s leading steel glazing companies, has been awarded a major contract for the new façade of the Grade I listed King’s Cross station, the final phase of the station’s redevelopment which began in 2007.
The major London transport hub, which handles some 47 million people annually, is being restored to its former Victorian glory in a £550 million project that will also create a new 7000 sq metre King’s Cross Square, larger than Leicester Square, and is due to open in the autumn of this year.
Wrightstyle’s SG curtain walling systems will form the station’s ground floor archways, an integral part of the new station frontage and, underlining the company’s specialist design capability, had to conform to strict criteria laid down by English Heritage.
Wrightstyle’s design expertise has already been recognised in the station’s redevelopment. Last year, again working with English Heritage, the company’s large-span systems were installed on the western frontage, to provide a safe evacuation route from the main administrative areas.
The redevelopment of the station is part of a much wider £2.2 billion 67 acre regeneration of the King’s Cross area that will see 3.4 million sq ft of office space, 2,000 homes, 500,000 sq ft of retail space, 300 hotel bedrooms, and 650 student units. Already completed is the University of the Arts London, which has now opened.
The station was designed in 1852 but its elegant frontage was covered over in the 1970s by a much-unloved – and supposedly temporary - green canopy. Bringing the station back to its former glory, and unveiling its original Lewis Cubitt-designed façade for the first time in 150 years, is the largest redevelopment in the station’s history.
Already complete is new King’s Cross’s western concourse, which has new passenger facilities, shops and restaurants as well as improved access to the Underground, Thameslink and the adjacent St. Pancras station, terminus for the cross-Channel Eurostar.
In designing and supplying curtain walling to the frontage and western façade of the new King’s Cross, Wrightstyle brings a wealth of design and manufacturing expertise from other UK transport infrastructure projects, as well as overseas contracts in Hong Kong and, more recently, for the Dubai Metro.
Lee Coates, Wrightstyle’s technical director, said: “This new contract for Network Rail was particularly challenging. Not only did we have to work in compliance with the strict requirements of English heritage because of the station’s Grade I listed status, but we had to design our systems to cope with very high traffic volumes.”