HEKKTA takes a look at Heatherwick’s stunning new project in London’s King’s Cross – Coal Drops Yard. In classic Heatherwick style, he has managed to produce stunning beauty out of a conundrum.
For Thomas Heatherwick, King’s Cross is home. Having his studio there for the last 17 years, he has grown to know the area very well and is probably the best candidate for this kind of project.
Coal Drops Yard is a stylish shopping centre, part of the new King’s Cross redevelopment, which occupies two former coal-storing buildings from the 19th century. The old buildings were in need of a bit of love, with the roofs needing repairing.
The studio were perplexed for a while, trying several different ways to make the buildings more intertwined and connected with little luck. However, the studio made their breakthrough when they thought of fusing the roofs.
“Our breakthrough, in a way, was realising that we grow those [roofs], grow them together, because the roofs needed replacing,” says Heatherwick, “And in replacing the roofs we could fuse those roofs together, as if it heals into a heart.”
Lisa Finlay, a group leader at Heatherwick Studio, furthers Heatherwick’s comments explaining,
“We tried all sorts of ideas of just adding something new, and the way we were adding it where they were quite separate just didn’t work,” she says.
“It was only when we started to merge the language of the old with the new, and that’s when we started to have multiple ideas of things emerging from the existing forms.”
The stunning shopping centre that they have produced is set to become a new hub in the area, and this is something Heatherwick was hoping for. He wanted people to come and spend time, enjoying the space he has created, rather than just walking through.
The fusing of the roofs created a sort of shelter, which given that we live in the UK, he predicts will draw people together when hiding from the rain.
Being from the area, he looked at what King’s Cross was missing, keen to create something that was particular to the area.
He comments that there will be your usual chain shops that people know so well, but he is also keen to showcase local retailers and artists within Coal Drops Yard.
Coal Drops Yard is a fantastic example of archicture that elevates the old using the new. The studio managed to keep to coal drops as authentic as they possibly could, using the same slate tiles on the roofs as were previously used.
It’s this incredible attention to detail combined with classy design that makes us believe that this new project from Heatherwick Studio will become a huge attraction in the area, for either a spot of shopping or a bite to eat. The Coal Drops Yard shopping centre is set to open next month.