Coal Drops Yard

Structural Designer


Client Name



London, UK

BAM Construction

Heatherwick Studio

Hoare Lea - Services engineer
BAM Design - Delivery architect and services engineer
Severfield - ​Steelwork subcontractor
Gardiner & Theobald - Project manager Images: © John Sturrock


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 comment:

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 skillfully combined sensitive renovation of neglected heritage structures with complex extensions to form a seamless and integrated composition.

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