Winner 2019

Award for
Structural Transformation

Project Description

The transformation of two Victorian train sheds and arches to create a retail centre and focal point for London’s King’s Cross development. The project combined Victorian engineering with contemporary interventions that enhance the historic architecture and features a striking new roof and floating floor.

Judge’s comments

This transformation project required intricate structural design solutions to ensure faithful delivery of the fine architectural aesthetics.

Restoration and renovation of the existing brick, timber and cast-iron structures was carried out after individual assessment of their structural viability, retaining as much of the original materials as possible.

The success of the development relied upon the creation of a suspended floor linking the East and West Coal Drop buildings, thereby creating a unified public area protected by the peeled-back slate roofs complemented by infill glazing to the lenses created by the new roof geometry.

This was achieved through an elegant roof structure consisting of a primary tied arch at the centre of the new deformed roof plates, which in turn supports secondary trusses following the curved geometry of the roofs and from which the new floor is suspended.

The primary truss has a moment-resisting V-notch at its apex in order to faithfully maintain the aesthetic of the ‘kissing’ roofs. Torsion and deflection of the curved trusses were carefully calculated and systematically monitored throughout the construction process in order to maintain deformation of the suspended floor within predetermined acceptable limits.

The design team have skilfully combined sensitive renovation of neglected heritage structures with complex extensions to form a seamless and integrated composition.

Project overview

Structural Designer

  • Arup

Client Name

  • Argent


  • London, UK


  • Heatherwick Studio

Principal Contractor

  • BAM Construction

Key Contractors

  • Hoare Lea – Services engineer

    BAM Design – Delivery architect and services engineer

    Severfield – ​Steelwork subcontractor

    Gardiner & Theobald – Project manager

    Images: © John Sturrock